Illness Perceptions

Project managers

Dr Y. Meuleman

Prof. dr F.W. Dekker

The aim of this study is to develop a screening tool that can be used in predialysis care to identify patients at risk for poor outcomes based on their illness percep­tions, and to develop a psychosocial inter­ven­tion that targets the spe­ci­fic unhelpful illness perception in this population .

This project consists of two parts.

In the first part, we use already available data from two large observational studies, the PREdialysis PAtient REecord-2 (PREPARE-2) study and the European QUALity (EQUAL) study, to explore the role of illness perceptions in patients receiving predialysis care. More specifically, we aim to identify patients at risk for unfavourable illness perception trajectories during predialysis care and to examine which illness perceptions are most important in relation to poor outcomes (i.e., impaired quality of life, a faster decline of kidney function, an earlier start of dialysis, and mortality). Hereby, this project enables us to develop a tailored screening tool to identify patients at high risk for poor outcomes and an intervention protocol to change these unhelpful illness perceptions.

To translate our quantitative findings to practice, we conduct interviews with health care professionals and patients receiving predialysis care. With this qualitative study, we aim to explore which illness perceptions patients and professionals consider as most relevant and modifiable, and to identify the needs and preferences of patients and profes­sionals with regard to an illness perception screening tool and intervention (e.g., how should these tools be used in practice, what are meaningful intervention ingredients, etc.). The results of this second part of the study, will enable us to tailor the screening tool and intervention to illness perception of this population, and to the needs and preferences of patients and professionals.

Both tools (i.e., the screening tool and intervention protocol) will be evaluated by means of a pilot study.