Content » Vol 45, Issue 3

Original report

Tortured refugees' expectations of a multidisciplinary pain rehabilitation programme: An explorative qualitative study

Ann L. Persson , Gunvor Gard
Rehabilitation and Research Centre for Torture Victims, P.O. 2107 , DK-1014 Copenhagen K, Denmark. E-mail:
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-1101


Background: Refugees have often been exposed to torture in their countries of origin. Rehabilitation of tortured refugees living in Denmark is offered by the specialized Rehabilitation and Research Centre for Torture Victims in Copenhagen. After an interdisciplinary assessment eligible patients are recommended rehabilitation.
Objective: To explore tortured refugees’ expectations of the multidisciplinary pain rehabilitation programme offered at our centre.
Design: Explorative qualitative interview study.
Patients: Fifteen consecutive Arabic-speaking men, waiting for rehabilitation after having been assessed by a physician, a psychologist, a physiotherapist and a social worker, were interviewed.
Methods: Individual qualitative interviews were performed by an Arabic-speaking psychologist, and analysed with content analyses.
Results: One theme: different expectations of multidisciplinary pain rehabilitation and 4 categories emerged: general expectations of the rehabilitation programme; specific expectations of professional treatment; expectations of mutual participation and communication; and expected rehabilitation outcomes.
Conclusion: The tortured refugees had different, mostly positive, expectations of the multidisciplinary pain rehabilitation programme. General expectations of the rehabilitation content, as well as specific expectations of the professionals’ treatment, were expressed. Mutual and active participation and communication between patients and therapists were important expectations. In addition, positive outcomes, such as improved health, improved coping ability and decreased pain, were expected.

Lay Abstract


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