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J Adv Nurs. 2013 Jul;69(7):1500-14. doi: 10.1111/jan.12008. Epub 2012 Sep 14.

Effects of a self-care promoting problem-based learning programme in people with rheumatic diseases: a randomized controlled study.

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Research and Development Centre, Spenshult Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, Oskarström, Sweden.



To evaluate the effects of a self-care promoting problem-based learning programme for people with rheumatic diseases in terms of health-related quality of life, empowerment, and self-care ability.


Individuals with rheumatoid arthritis express a great need for education and support in adapting to the disease, but the average qualities of studies about patient education interventions are not high. There is no evidence of long-term benefits of patient education.


Randomized controlled trial.


A randomized controlled design was selected with test at baseline, 1-week and 6-month post-interventions after completed the 1-year programme. The tests consisted of validity and reliability tested instruments. The participants were randomly assigned in spring 2009 to either the experimental group (n = 54) or the control group (n = 148). The programme was running alongside the standard care the participants received at a rheumatology unit. Parametric and non-parametric tests were used in the analyses.


The participants in the experimental group had statistically significant stronger empowerment after participation in the self-care promoting problem-based learning programme compared with the control group, at the 6-month post-intervention. Approximately, two-thirds of the participants in the experimental group stated that they had implemented lifestyle changes due to the programme.


The self-care promoting problem-based learning programme enabled people with rheumatic diseases to improve their empowerment compared with the control group. It is important to continue to develop problem-based learning in patient education to find the very best way to use this pedagogical method in rheumatology care.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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