Objective: To explore whether the concepts important to patients with hand osteoarthritis (OA) are covered by the most commonly used instruments measuring functioning.
Method: A qualitative multicentre study using a focus group technique was performed in five European countries: Austria, The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom. The qualitative data analysis followed a modified form of “meaning condensation” and used the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) as a theoretical framework. Finally, the concepts from the focus groups were compared with the content of the most commonly used instruments which had been identified in an earlier theoretical analysis.
Results: Fifty-six people (51 women, mean (SD) age 62.7 (7.9) years) with hand OA participated in this study in two focus groups per centre. 63 concepts were extracted from the focus groups. Twenty-one (33%) of the 63 concepts were covered by at least one instrument. Psychological consequences, different qualities of pain, aesthetic changes and leisure activities are important concepts from the focus groups which were not covered by the instruments. The qualitative analysis revealed detailed descriptions of pain-concerning sensations, levels and a certain relation to activity, none of which were fully represented in the instruments routinely used.
Conclusion: It was possible to combine the concepts of the focus groups from each centre into a common qualitative analysis. The concepts important to people with hand OA are not fully represented in the most commonly used instruments.
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Funding This project was partly funded by a restricted grant from EULAR and by the DICHOA (Disease Characteristics in Hand OsteoArthritis) initiative.
Competing interests None.
Ethics approval Ethics committee approval obtained.
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