Background: For patients with chronic diseases like osteoporosis, self-care decision-making is an on-going challenge involving medical treatment and the complexity of activities related to the patients daily life. Disease specific group education (GE) may be one way of supporting patients in the decision-making process. This study explores multifaceted GE with particular focus on its impact on patients decision-making in regard to both treatment options and lifestyle changes.
Methods: Fourteen women and three men diagnosed with osteoporosis participated in the study. An interpretive description design using ethnographic field study was applied. Data consisted of participant observation (78 hours) during GE and individual interview.
Result: Attending GE had an impact on participants decision-making, because participants changed their understanding of how to implement lifestyle changes that are more beneficial to their bone health. During GE, teachers and patients expressed evidence-based knowledge and personal experiences and preferences, respectively, leading to a two-way exchange of information and deliberation about the recommendations. Even though teachers and participants explored the implications of the decisions and shared their preferences, teachers outlined that it was the participants who ultimately had to make the decision. Teachers therefore abdicated from participating in the final step of the decision-making process.
Conclusion: GE can initiate patient reflection and support decision-making. Participants decided on various steps to manage osteoporosis that they had not considered previously and made many positive decisions regarding a bone healthy lifestyle and how to implement a bone healthy lifestyle.
Disclosure: The authors declared no competing interests. This work was supported by the Danish National Osteoporosis Society.