Understanding knee osteoarthritis from the patients’ perspective: a qualitative study

No studies of Health Coach Interventions for knee OA sufferers that include patients’ perspectives have been published. This study assesses current clinical practice and primary care professionals’ advice from the patients’ perspective, in order to obtain a participative design for a complex intervention based on coaching psychology. Moreover, wants to analyse the experiences, perceptions, cognitive evaluation, values, emotions, beliefs and coping strategies of patients with knee osteoarthritis, and secondly the impact of these factors in the Self-management of this condition.

It is an interpretative qualitative study. The study included patients with diagnosis of knee osteoarthritis (OA) from 4 primary health care centres in Barcelona. A theoretical sampling based on a prior definition of participants’ characteristics was carried out. Ten semi-structured interviews with knee OA patients were carried out. A content thematic analysis was performed following a mixed-strategy text codification in Lazarus framework and in emerging codes from the data.

The results are structured in two blocks: Experiences and perceptions of informants and Experiences of knee osteoarthritis according to the Lazarus model. Regarding experiences and perceptions of informants: Some participants reported that the information was mostly provided by health professionals. Informants know which food they should eat to lose weight and the benefits of weight loss. Moreover, participants explained that they like walking but that sometimes it is difficult to put into practice. Regarding experiences of knee osteoarthritis according Lazarus model: Cognitive evaluation is influenced by cognitive distortions such as obligation, guilt, dramatization and catastrophism. Values: Family is the value most associated with wellbeing. Helping others is another recurring value. Emotions: Most participants explain that they feel anxiety, irritability or sadness. Beliefs: To some, physiotherapy helps them feel less pain. However, others explain that it is of no use to them. Participants are aware of the association overweight– pain. Coping strategies: The strategies for coping with emotions aim to reduce psychological distress (anxiety, sadness, anger) and some are more active than others.

The study highlights that patients with knee osteoarthritis require a person-centered approach that provides them with strategies to overcome the psychological distress caused by this condition.