The aim of the present study was to compare and contrast the concepts of functioning in daily life which were important to patients with different rheumatological conditions.
The study comprised a qualitative analysis of 44 focus groups in eight European countries, in 229 patients with fibromyalgia, hand osteoarthritis, psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus and systemic sclerosis, using the World Health Organization, 2001 International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health as a framework. Concepts and – where necessary – also sub-concepts and transcripts were combined and compared independently by two researchers who, in case of disagreement, achieved consensus through discussion.
Twenty concepts out of 109 (e.g. body image, fatigue, emotional issues, mobility and hand function) were similarly described in all six diseases. However, even if the same concept was mentioned, patients' experiences were different, such as mental AND physical aspects limiting the ability to drive in patients with fibromyalgia compared with ONLY physical problems in all other diseases. Within body functions and structures, several concepts were relevant for certain conditions only.
A large number of similar problems are mentioned as ‘typical’ by patients with different rheumatic conditions. These could probably be targeted, using a disease-specific approach, in interventions by non-physician health professionals. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.