Identification of relevant functional issues for the care of patients with acute arthritis by health professionals, using ICF framework and a multi-disciplinary focus group approach
Zochling, JM and Grill, E and Alten, R and Ernst, J and Stucki, G and Braun, J, Identification of relevant functional issues for the care of patients with acute arthritis by health professionals, using ICF framework and a multi-disciplinary focus group approach, Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology, 25, (3) pp. 354-360. ISSN 0392-856X (2007) [Refereed Article]
Objective: To identify the most relevant problems to be addressed in the multi-disciplinary care of patients with acute arthritis using focus groups of health professionals followed by a Delphi process. Methods: Focus group and Delphi methodology were applied. The focus groups were conducted at three specialist rheumatology hospital clinics in Germany, each group comprising rheumatologists, nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, psychologists and social workers. The participants were asked to decide which categories of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) are relevant to the care of patients with acute inflammatory arthritis. The results from the focus groups were then followed by an anonymous Delphi process. Results: Twenty-six health professionals participated in the 3 focus groups. 167 of the second-level ICF categories (63% of all second-level categories) were considered as relevant by the rheumatology health professionals. Items from all four components, Body Functions, Body Structures, Activities and Participation and Environmental Factors were represented. Agreement between focus groups and between different health professional groups was substantial for all components with the exception of Environmental Factors (Cohen's kappa 0.23). Conclusions: The involvement of experts from different health professions is a valuable tool to identify typical patient characteristics, expressed as distinct ICF categories, to aid in patient care in the acute rheumatology setting. Acute patient care cannot and should not be separated from ongoing long-term management.