Thousands of families impacted by eczema, known medically as atopic dermatitis, are set to benefit from better information about how to manage this complex inflammatory skin disorder, thanks to two major government grants.
The Quality Use of Medicines Alliance has been awarded funding over two years to design and administer high quality education relating to eczema management, as well as the treatment of gout, use of oral anticoagulants, and antidepressant use in older people. A second grant focused on healthcare professional education will provide a suite of resources on these conditions for doctors, pharmacists and nurses.
Eczema Support Australia Managing Director, Melanie Funk, who is leading a call for Australia to introduce a National Eczema Strategy – and whose team are part of the Alliance to design the eczema component of the educational program – said the grants were an “important first step towards a nationally coordinated response to eczema”.
“This is the first time there has been a nationwide effort to equip people affected by eczema with the skills and knowledge to manage the disease. It’s also the first coordinated effort to counter the misconceptions responsible for corticosteroid underuse and unnecessary disease flares,
“Eczema is a complex condition that demands a high level of self-management and nursing skills, which can be overwhelming for many people. These grants are an encouraging sign that the government understands how severe eczema can be and the need to do things better when it comes to supporting individuals and families impacted by chronic eczema.
“However, we know that the needs of people with eczema go beyond treatments and education. Even with the best management techniques, eczema can be intractable and take a devastating toll on mental health.
“That’s why we need a national strategy to ensure early intervention to mitigate the impact of eczema-related sleep deprivation, anxiety and depression, and address high out-of-pocket costs and difficulty accessing specialists.
“We hope these grants are a first step towards a national approach to eczema that addresses gaps in care and ensures eczema is optimally treated, no matter where you live,” Ms Funk said.
For more on Eczema Support Australia’s call for a national eczema strategy visit: www.eczemasupport.org.au/national-strategy
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by eczema, you are not alone.
Visit www.eczemasupport.org.au, connect with Eczema Support Australia on social media, or call Lifeline on 13 11 14 (24 hours a day).