Physical activity guidance in the rheumatology clinic-what matters for patients with rheumatoid arthritis? A qualitative study

Tanja Thomsen*, Mette Aadahl, Merete Lund Hetland, Bente Appel Esbensen

*Corresponding author af dette arbejde

Abstract

Higher proportions of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are physically inactive compared to the general population. A barrier to engaging in physical activity (PA) may be lack of consistent PA guidance from health professionals (HPRs). This qualitative study aimed to explore daily PA levels and the patients' perspectives on current and future PA guidance from HPRs. We recruited 20 participants from five rheumatology departments in Denmark. The participants differed in socio-demography and clinical characteristics based on results from an earlier cross-sectional study. The interviews were conducted by telephone, online platforms or face-to-face. Data analysis was based on reflexive thematic analysis. Thirteen participants were female and mean age was 55 years. We generated four themes; (1) Acceptance of the arthritis is a process, which attributed to acknowledging RA as part of life before fully engagement in PA and exercise. (2) Daily physical activity-motivation, barriers and benefits, reflecting the participants' preferred types of activities and motivations and barriers to PA. (3) Physical activity guidance-your own responsibility? This theme reflected how participants missed more comprehensive discussions with HPRs about PA. (4) It is essential how, when and where physical activity guidance is provided, referring to participants' preferences for future PA guidance in the rheumatology clinic. The study emphasizes that an integrated focus on PA should be part of the rheumatology clinic. However, HPRs may need adequate training in how to guide and motivate patients with RA towards increased PA.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftRheumatology International
Vol/bind44
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)181-189
Antal sider9
ISSN0172-8172
DOI
StatusUdgivet - jan. 2024

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