Content » Vol 47, Issue 2

Original report

Rehabilitation provided to patients with rheumatoid arthritis: A comparison of three different rheumatology clinics in Austria, Sweden and the UK from the perspectives of patients and health professionals

Birgit Prodinger, Mwidimi Ndosi, Ulla Nordenskiöld, Tanja Stamm, Gert Persson, Ingrid Andreasson , Åsa Lundgren-Nilsson
Human Functioning Sciences, ICF Unit, Swiss Paraplegic Research, Nottwil, Switzerland. E-mail:
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-1914


Objective: To explore patients’ and health professionals’ views of outpatient rehabilitation services for patients with rheumatoid arthritis in 3 different rheumatology sites across Europe.
Methods: A qualitative multi-method study was conducted with patients and health professionals in Vienna (Austria), Gothenburg (Sweden) and Leeds (UK). Data collection was carried out during focus groups with patients and health professionals. Patients’ hospital records were integrated into the analysis. Data were analysed for site and findings were compared across sites.
Results: A total of 20 patients and 20 health professionals participated in 12 focus groups. Although the 3 sites were all publicly funded university clinics, there were differences between sites regarding the structure and content of rehabilitation services. The themes that emerged in the focus groups were: referrals; continuity in rehabilitation; information provided to patients; patients’ organizations; documentation and communication amongst health professionals; interface between primary and specialist care; and prescription practices. Most themes were addressed at all 3 sites, but there were variations in the specifics within themes.
Conclusion: Integration of patients’ and health professionals’ views on how rehabilitation services are coordinated and how (parts of) processes are set up elsewhere provide valuable information for the further optimization of rehabilitation services.

Lay Abstract


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