There is a plethora of practical and medical advice that can be obtained online, finding what works for you can be difficult, and sometimes it is necessary to trial a number of options and revisit your healthcare professional. Make sure you have an honest conversation with your healthcare professional about realistic expectations.
Eczema is a very personal experience and you need to keep in touch with your healthcare professional. It’s important to remember that there’s not a ‘one size fits all’ approach to eczema.
Within dermatology, there are questionnaires that have been created to help you better explain the way you are feeling, and how your skin condition is affecting your life. Find out more about these questionnaires in the article below.
If you live with a chronic condition, such as atopic dermatitis (AD), it may be easy to forget just how much of an impact on your day to day life your condition has. This might be because you are used to struggling with symptoms daily that it is hard to imagine what life would be like without these symptoms. To try and explain exactly how your skin condition may be affecting your life, a series of questionnaires were developed that measure the effect of your skin condition on your quality of life and how severe this condition is. These questionnaires give you a clear and objective voice to help explain just what you are going through.
The first questionnaire is the Patient Orientated Eczema Measure (POEM) which is used to measure how severe you perceive your AD to be. The POEM questionnaire is suitable for adults and older children who are able to fully read and comprehend the questions. There is a total of 7 questions within the POEM questionnaire with a maximum score of 28. Every answer within each question has a score which is added together, given an overall score for the questionnaire. This score will then identify your eczema as clear/almost clear, mild, moderate, severe, or very severe1,2.
Each question asks you to identify how many days in a week your skin has, for example, felt dry/rough or been cracked because of your eczema. Therefore, the POEM questionnaire does not need to be taken more than once a week. The frequency of how often you take the questionnaire is up to you. A change in score of 4 or more points is considered to be clinically important3. It would be best practice to record the date you took the POEM questionnaire and your score each time. If you would like to take the POEM questionnaire, click here.
Similarly, to POEM, the Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI) questionnaire is a self-administered questionnaire. It aims to assess your health related quality of life over the past 7 days. The DLQI was the first dermatology specific quality of life questionnaire designed and was published in 19944. It is still widely used today. The DLQI is suitable for anyone aged over the age of 16. There is a total of 10 questions all with corresponding scores depending on how severely your life is affected in that area. The scores of all 10 questions are then accumulated and together will identify if your AD is having no, a small, moderate, very large, or extremely large effect on your life.
Like POEM, a change in score of 4 points or more is considered to be clinically important5. It would be best practice to record the date you took the questionnaire, alongside your score to track any changes you may experience. Would you like to take the DLQI to see how much AD is affecting your life? Click on the Chatbot to the right of the screen to take the DLQI now or click here for a downloadable PDF version.
Published just a year later that the DLQI in 1995, the Children’s Dermatology Life Quality Index (CLDQI) is used to measure the impact of AD on children aged 4-16. Like the DLQI, this questionnaire spans the past 7 days and should be completed by a child aged 4-16 with or without the assistance of their parent/caregiver, depending on capability. The score provided to each of the 10 questions is cumulated and will determine whether your/your child’s AD has no, a small, moderate, very large, or extremely large effect on your/your child’s life7. If you would like to assess how much of an effect AD may be having on your/your child’s life, you can complete the CDLQI questionnaire here.
All the above questionnaires are key to helping you gain a further understanding of how your/your child’s skin condition may be affecting your/their quality of life. Knowing this information may help to empower you, helping you to understand more about all the different aspects of your/your child’s life that may be affected by your/their skin condition that you didn’t even realise were affected.
Completing and keeping track of any potential changes in your questionnaire score will not only be beneficial to you but will also be useful for your healthcare professional. Whether you are considering talking to your GP about your skin condition for the first time, or have been under a dermatologist for a while, the questionnaires are a great tool to help you have more constructive and efficient conversations with your healthcare professional. These questionnaires will help aid the conversations you are having and therefore, taking these questionnaires just before your appointments will give your healthcare professional the most up-to-date idea of how your skin is currently affecting you. Having a clearer understanding of exactly how AD is affecting your life will further give you the tools needed to help take control.
Goal setting is a great way to start thinking beyond your day-to-day and identifying ways of reducing the impact atopic dermatitis has on your life.
This guide can help you communicate how atopic dermatitis is affecting you and help you to work together with a dermatologist on a long-term plan focused on better management.Goal-setting guide