Catharina Gillsjo earned her PhD in a Joint PhD Program in Nursing between the University of Rhode Island, USA and University of Skövde, Sweden. The focus of her research is on the health and well-being of older adults in various contexts,especially that of home. It also encompasses common health problems associated with aging, such as long-term musculoskeletal pain. Furthermore, it includes interventions that support older adults in daily living and their ability to remain at home. Catharina is a senior lecturer at the University of Skovde. She is interested in national and international collaboration in research and education.


Long-term musculoskeletal pain is a major health problem among older adults. Many lack professional guidance and feel forced to learn to live with pain on their own. The method Reflective STRENGTH-giving dialogue (STRENGTH) is developed to holistically meet older adults’ needs in a way that promotes health, well-being, meaning and strength in life. An intervention study was conducted in which education and continuous supervision were given to 10 health care professionals that carried out dialogues with 20 community dwelling older adults living with long-term musculoskeletal pain at home.
Interview data were obtained before and after the intervention from a reflective lifeworld research approach. Phenomenology (before intervention) and hermeneutics (after intervention) were methods used to analyze data. Suffering in silence was essential in the older adults’ lives before the intervention. They endured and tried to distract from the disabling pain, but felt not being taken seriously and avoided thoughts of the future. The intervention led to the development of a continuous and trustful relationship, alleviation of pain and diminished loneliness. The dialogue was experienced as a new way of talking
about life with pain. There was a transfer in orientation towards present and future time and from obstacles to opportunities. The older adult showed an increased joy, engagement and motion in life. The dialogues created a deepened caring relationship that contributed to an increased sense of security, courage, strength and meaning in life, which implies that the Reflective
STRENGTH-giving dialogues have the potential to enhance older adult’s sense of health and wellbeing if acknowledged in nursing practice.