A joint venture: patients’ experiences with goal setting in rheumatology rehabilitation: a qualitative study

Lisbeth Skovly Nielsen*, Jette Primdahl, Brian Clausen, Ann Bremander

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Purpose: To explore how patients with rheumatic musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs) perceive participation in the goal setting process prior to interdisciplinary rehabilitation. Methods: We conducted semi-structured interviews with 22 participants admitted to an interdisciplinary rehabilitation stay for patients with RMDs at two Danish rehabilitation centres. Qualitative content analysis was applied. Results: The participants perceived goal setting as a joint venture between two parties: the health professionals and the participant. Three categories were formed, which described both facilitators and barriers in the process. Responsibility for goal setting described the importance of shared responsibility, or health professionals as experts, taking full responsibility for goal setting. Equipped for goal setting included perceptions of being well prepared for the process, or considerations that goal setting was difficult because of a lack of information. An equal member of the team entailed both the feeling of being recognised as one in the team, or feeling like an outsider. Conclusion: Goal setting is perceived as a challenge by some patients. Participation in goal setting depends on both the capacity and the opportunity to participate which are factors linked to patients’ level of health literacy.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20. Feb 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • content analysis
  • Goal setting
  • health literacy
  • interviews
  • rehabilitation
  • rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases
  • shared decision making


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