Effects of Three Rehabilitation Programmes on the Daily Activities and Well-being of Icelandic Chronic Pain Patients

About the project

Chronic pain affects people all over the world. Some research estimates it up to 50% in the normal population. Chronic pain is a complex combination of mixed symptoms with various causes and consequences. Most common sites of the body affected by pain are the back, head and joints Several research results indicate that pain management programmes at rehabilitation units can be effective for those who are ready to make changes in their lives. Most common pain sites among those who attend rehabilitation programmes seems to be disabling pain (e.g. extremity pain, widespread pain, headaches, somatoform pains) in the lower limbs and low back pain of some kind, and fibromyalgia.

In this doctoral project we aim to evaluate 1. Chronic pain of patients at three rehabilitation wards before attending the programme, at completion of the programme, six months and one year later; 2. Patients‘ expectations of education and treatment before attending a rehabilitation programme, how their expectations were met during the programme and patient overall satisfaction with the programme; 3. Health related quality of life of patients before admission, six months and one year after completion of the programme; 4. The lived experience of the rehabilitation programme‘s effect on the patient‘s well-being.

Subjects will be male and female patients (aged 18-70) with primarily low back pain or fibromyalgia. The subjects reside in Iceland and will attend one of three rehabilitation centers: Reykjalundur, NLFÍ Hveragerði, and Kristnes. This study will use both qualitative interviews and quantitative prospective cohort studies. The qualitative interviews will be conducted both before the admission and three months after the programme‘s completion and analyzed using the 12 basic steps of the Vancouver School of doing phenomenology. For quantitative analysis, questions from the Brief Pain Inventory (BPI), SF36v2, SEQ-Sleep, Hospital Patients‘ Knowledge Expectations (EKHP) and Hospital Patients Received Knowledge (RKHP) will be used. The questionnaires will be administered at four time points: before admission (T1), at the end of the programmes’ completion (T2), and six months (T3) and one year (T4) after the programmes’ completion.

Data collection began in September 2015 and is ongoing. The results will show how effective the rehabilitation programmes are from the patient‘s perspectives.


Hafdís Skúladóttir, RN, PhD student, Faculty of Nursing, University of Iceland, Assistant Professor, School of Health Science, University of Akureyri, Iceland
Herdís Sveinsdóttir, Professor, School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Nursing, University of Iceland, Iceland
Sigríður Halldórsdóttir, Professor, School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Graduate Studies, University of Akureyri, Iceland
Amalía Björnsdóttir, Professor, School of Education, University of Iceland
Janean Erickson Holden, Professor, University of Michigan School of Nursing, Ann Arbor, MI
Þóra Jenný Gunnarsdóttir, Associate Professor, School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Nursing, University of Iceland, Iceland


Rannsóknastofnun Háskólans á Akureyri (RHA)
Þóra Hjartardóttir hjúkrunarfræðingur, Endurhæfingardeildin á Reykjalundi, 270 Mosfellsbær
Ingvar Þóroddsson, yfirlæknir, Endurhæfingardeildin á Kristnesi Eyjafjarðarsveit, 601 Akureyri
Aðalbjörg S. Helgadóttir, hjúkrunarfræðingur, NLFÍ Hveragerði, Grænumörk 10, 810 Hveragerði