Chronic inflammatory skin diseases like atopic dermatitis (AD) and psoriasis can severely impact patients’ quality of life (QOL). However, the effect of these diseases can diminish the QOL of patients’ family members as well. The objective of this study was to understand the impact on QOL for family members of patients diagnosed with AD or psoriasis.
We conducted focus groups and interviews with 23 individuals; 12 had a family member with AD, and 11 had a family member with psoriasis. After investigators independently coded the transcripts, thematic analysis was conducted.
Three major themes emerged: (1) lifestyle consequences—many daily activities for family members, including but not limited to leisure activities, sleep, and cleaning, were affected by AD or psoriasis; (2) emotional consequences—family members felt frustrated, worried, or embarrassed, among other concerns, because of their loved ones’ AD or psoriasis; (3) relationships—relationships between family members and their loved ones with AD or psoriasis could become strained, and though family members might try to be sympathetic, doing so could be difficult because of their lack of understanding of how these diseases feel and personally affect their loved ones.
This study highlights the impacts of AD and psoriasis on the whole family. Clinicians should be mindful of the effects on QOL not only for patients but also for family members who live with and care about these patients. Especially when family members assist with treatments, it is important to understand family members’ experiences when making treatment decisions.