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Patients’ experiences of health in early rheumatoid arthritis – a qualitative study
Spenshult Research and Development Center, Halmstad, Sweden.
Halmstad University, School of Business, Engineering and Science, The Rydberg Laboratory for Applied Sciences (RLAS). Spenshult Research and Development Center, Halmstad, Sweden & Lund University, Lund, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8081-579X
Lund University, Lund, Sweden & Skåne University Hospital, Lund, Sweden.
University Hospitals Leuven, Leuven, Belgium & KU Leuven, University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.
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2018 (English)In: Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, ISSN 0003-4967, E-ISSN 1468-2060, Vol. 77, p. 1802-1803, article id FRI10707-HPRArticle in journal, Meeting abstract (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: The World Health Organization defines health as ”a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. Health changes dramatically when a person becomes ill in a chronic disease as rheumatoid arthritis (RA). RA is a disease with great impact on all aspects of life. Living with RA affects patients’ health including physical, emotional, psychological and social aspects. The purpose of a person-centered care is to see patients as experts; sharing decisions with them and helping them manage their health. Therefore it is important to understand how patients in early disease stage of RA experience the concept of health.

Objectives: The purpose of this study was to describe patients’ experiences of health in early RA.

Methods: The study had a descriptive design with a qualitative content analysis approach. Individual interviews were conducted with 24 patients with early RA. In this study the patients had disease duration less than 12 months. A manifest qualitative content analysis was used to analyze the question: “What does health mean to you?”

Results: In the early stage of RA, patients experienced health as the most important goal in their life. They described health as well-being, independence, life satisfaction and vitality. Health as well-being meant to feel good, be painless and have a good sleep to feel rested. Health as independence meant to have both physical and financial prerequisites to perform everyday activities, to exercise and being able to travel. Health as life satisfaction meant to feel joy in life, enjoy the family and to believe in the future. Health as vitality meant to have the energy, power and strength to cope with everyday life. The patients expressed that their health had been adversely affected by the RA disease and they had a strong desire for full health including well-being, independence, life satisfaction and vitality.

Conclusions: Patients in an early stage of RA describe a strong desire to regain health in terms of well-being, independence, life satisfaction and vitality. The concept of health at early RA is similar to health at established RA in terms of well-being, independence and life satisfaction. Unique findings for patients with early RA are the description of health as vitality, and the emphasis of having energy, power and strength to cope with everyday life. Health professionals should have these different ways of experiencing health in mind when providing person-centred care to patients with early RA. Depending on the patients’ perception of health, different support strategies are needed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London: BMJ Publishing Group Ltd, 2018. Vol. 77, p. 1802-1803, article id FRI10707-HPR
Keywords [en]
Early rheumatoid arthritis, Health, Patients’ experiences, Qualitative study
National Category
Nursing
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-37133OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hh-37133DiVA, id: diva2:1220034
Conference
Annual European Congress of Rheumatology EULAR, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 13-16 June, 2018
Available from: 2018-06-18 Created: 2018-06-18 Last updated: 2018-07-27Bibliographically approved

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Bremander, AnnLarsson, Ingrid

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CiteExportLink to record
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