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Disabil Rehabil. 2001 Nov 10;23(16):706-21.

Living with arthritis--what is important?

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Wellington School of Medicine, University of Otago, New Zealand.



Demonstrating the effectiveness of health care interventions requires valid measurement of the impact of those interventions. However, outlining precisely what constitutes a 'good outcome' in the field of rehabilitation is no easy task and tends to rely on models proposed by 'experts' rather than people with the disabling conditions. This paper describes a study exploring outcomes that those people with a disabling condition (arthritis) consider important.


A qualitative study, interviewing 10 women with rheumatoid arthritis was carried out. The narratives were explored for categories and themes that encapsulated the perspective of the participants.


A range of categories was identified and collated into five themes (personal/intrinsic factors, external/extrinsic factors, future issues, perceptions of normality and taking charge).


The research supports in part, but also challenges more commonly used models of understanding the important consequences of disease and disability. The findings of the study may assist health professionals to reflect on current practice and reconsider processes used, and outcomes aimed for, in light of what patients/clients consider important.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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