A four-week team-rehabilitation programme in a warm climate decreases disability and improves health and body function for up to one year: A prospective study in Swedish patients with inflammatory joint diseases
Sofia Ajeganova, Margareta Wörnert, Ingiäld Hafström
Unit of Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, HuddingeKarolinska Institutet, Karolinska University Hospital Huddinge, 141 86 Stockholm, Sweden
Objective: In the era of biologics, we evaluated the short- and long-term effects of team-rehabilitation in a warm climate in patients with arthritis and an inadequate response to physio-therapy in Sweden.
Methods: A total of 161 patients with peripheral arthritis and spondyloarthritis, 63% treated with biologics, followed team-rehabilitation for a period of 4 weeks. The outcomes assessed pre- and post-rehabilitation and after 3 and 12 months covered the Heath Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ), Bath Ankylosing Spondylitis Functional Index (BASFI), EuroQoL 5-Dimensions (EQ-5D), general health (VAS-GH), pain (VAS-pain) and the International Physical Activity Questionnaire.
Results: HAQ, VAS-GH and VAS-pain improved significantly from pre-rehabilitation to all follow-up time-points, and BASFI and EQ-5D up to 3 months. In patients treated with biologics, the results were similar. At 3 and 12 months the proportions of patients reporting improvement above the minimal clinically important difference were HAQ 62% and 35%, BASFI 73% and 61%, EQ-5D 47% and 39%, VAS-GH 68% and 52%, and VAS-pain 68% and 51%, respectively. Physical activity increased significantly from pre-rehabilitation to 12 months and this increase correlated with an improvement in EQ-5D (r = 0.20, p = 0.040).
Conclusion: Team-rehabilitation in a warm climate resulted in clinically meaningful improvements in body function, activities and well-being, and promoted physical activity for up to one year.
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