Background: The aim of this study was to develop an instrument to identify rehabilitation needs and distress in everyday life in patients with ischemic heart disease. Studies show that the challenges and needs of cardiac patients are not identified systematically in the hospital-based rehabilitation practice. This indicates the lack of a specific instrument based on patients’ needs and experiences.

Method: Items in the instrument were generated in several stages driven by methodologic literature. Inspired by existing instruments, a literature study was conducted, and health care professionals and patients made the content validation through two focus group interviews. Afterwards, the instrument was designed and face validated through cognitive interviewing and a survey.

Result: The result was a 54-item instrument, based on patient’s terminology. Physical and psychological factors and areas related to everyday life were included. Conclusion: This study shows the importance of involving patients in developing an instrument based on self-report.

Keywords: cardiac rehabilitation, everyday life, instrument development, rehabilitation needs, self-report