OBJECTIVE: To explore, using a qualitative approach, reasons for patients' continued willingness or their shift in willingness for total joint replacement (TJR) surgery, following participation in Joint Academy, a Swedish, digital, non-surgical treatment program for osteoarthritis (OA).
DESIGN: Nineteen patients with hip or knee OA were interviewed after finishing their first six weeks in the treatment program, using a semi-structured interview guide. The interviews were transcribed verbatim and analyzed using a systematic text condensation method.
RESULTS: Analysis of the interview data revealed three main categories of reasons provided for the participants' decisions regarding surgery: 1) Various reasons for participating in Joint Academy with three sub-categories: (a) longstanding pain affects daily life, (b) last chance for improvement and (c) mandatory treatment to be eligible for TJR; 2) Willingness for TJR following treatment, which included four sub-categories: (a) surgery - the last resort, (b) reduced pain and improved functioning, (c) no perceived improvements after treatment, and (d) trust in healthcare providers; and 3) Expectations of TJR. The shift in willingness towards or away from TJR was mainly due to the perceived success of Joint Academy in improving their functioning.
CONCLUSION: Several patients reconsidered their options and had changed their attitude to TJR after participation in a digital program aimed at reducing OA symptoms and improving functioning. These results highlight the importance of providing patients with adequate information about non-surgical management options to facilitate shared decision-making, and possibly reduce the need for surgery.
Swedish Standard Keywords
- Health Sciences (303)
- Non-surgical management
- digital treatment program
- total joint replacement