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BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2011 Nov 11;12:257. doi: 10.1186/1471-2474-12-257.

Development of a brief multidisciplinary education programme for patients with osteoarthritis.

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National Resource Centre for Rehabilitation in Rheumatology, Diakonhjemmet Hospital, PO box 23 Vinderen, 0319 Oslo, Norway.



Osteoarthritis (OA) is a prevalent progressive musculoskeletal disorder, leading to pain and disability. Patient information and education are considered core elements in treatment guidelines for OA; however, there is to our knowledge no evidence-based recommendation on the best approach, content or length on educational programmes in OA.


to develop a brief, patient oriented disease specific multidisciplinary education programme (MEP) to enhance self-management in patients with OA.


Twelve persons (80% female mean age 59 years) diagnosed with hand, hip or knee OA participated in focus group interviews. In the first focus group, six participants were interviewed about their educational needs, attitudes and expectations for the MEP. The interviews were transcribed verbatim and thereafter condensed.Based on results from focus group interviews, current research evidence, clinical knowledge and patients' experience, a multidisciplinary OA team (dietist, nurse, occupational therapist, pharmacist, physical therapist and rheumatologist) and a patient representative developed a pilot-MEP after having attended a work-shop in health pedagogics. Finally, the pilot-MEP was evaluated by a second focus group consisting of four members from the first focus group and six other experienced patients, before final adjustments were made.


The focus group interviews revealed four important themes: what is OA, treatment options, barriers and coping strategies in performing daily activities, and how to live with osteoarthritis. Identified gaps between patient expectations and experience with the pilot-programme were discussed and adapted into a final MEP. The final MEP was developed as a 3.5 hour educational programme provided in groups of 6-9 patients. All members from the multidisciplinary team are involved in the education programme, including a facilitator who during the provision of the programme ensures that the individual questions are addressed. As part of an ongoing process, a patient representative regularly attends the MEP and gives feedback concerning content and perceived value.


A MEP has been developed to enhance self-management in patients with OA attending a multidisciplinary OA outpatient clinic. The effectiveness of the MEP followed by individual consultations with members of the multidisciplinary team is currently evaluated in a randomised controlled trial with respect to patient satisfaction and functioning.

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