Healing care? Rehabilitation of female immigrant patients with chronic pain from a family perspective

Ingrid Sturkenboom*, Jos Dekker, Emmanuel Scheppers, Els van Dongen, Joost Dekker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose. This pilot study aimed to address the social context of rehabilitation by exploring the perspectives of family members regarding rehabilitation of female immigrant patients with a chronic pain condition. Method. In-depth semi-structured, face-to-face interviews were conducted with family members of nine patients. The interviews were transcribed and subsequently coded and analysed according to themes. Results. All participants acknowledged that their respective relative experiences pain. Pain is considered a symptom of the malfunctioning body and different explanatory notions are given. Participants regarded medication, warmth, rest or gentle exercise to be appropriate treatment options. Most participants had limited awareness of, and involvement in, rehabilitation. The role of family members in illness management lies mainly in providing advice and in taking over or assisting in domestic activities. Conclusion. The importance of considering the patient's social context and involving family in the treatment process is indicated in the literature. However, awareness of the aim and content of rehabilitation was limited among most participating family members as was their involvement in the rehabilitation process of their relative. It is recommended that further research needs to look at factors influencing involvement of family members before effective strategies for involving family members of patients of various socio-economic and/or cultural backgrounds can be developed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-332
Number of pages10
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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