Effectiveness of behavioural medical rehabilitation under real-life conditions in Germany: A propensity-score matched analysis
Keywords:rehabilitation, programme evaluation, mental health comorbidity, work ability, health service research
Objectives: In Germany, behavioural medical rehabilitation programmes have been implemented for patients with musculoskeletal disorders and additional mental health comorbidity. The aim of this cohort study is to assess the relative effectiveness of behavioural medical rehabilitation under real-life conditions.
Design: Participants received either a common or behavioural medical rehabilitation programme. Propensity score matching was used to provide balanced samples of both groups (German Clinical Trials Register: DRKS00016404).
Participants: A total of 360 patients treated in behavioural medical rehabilitation were compared with 360 matched controls. The mean age of study participants was approximately 53.5 years (standard deviation (SD)=7.0 years) and 74.0% were women.
Results: No significant and clinical meaningful differences were found in return to work, applications for disability pension, and the number of patients receiving social security benefits in the year after rehabilitation. However, participants in behavioural medical rehabilitation reported better self-rated work ability, physical functioning and self-management skills, and decreased pain disability and fear-avoidance beliefs 10 months after rehabilitation. Standardized effect sizes were between 0.13 and 0.22.
Conclusion: Behavioural medical rehabilitation had no clinical meaningful effect on maintaining and restoring work ability. However, behavioural medical rehabilitation affected pain and disease management skills 10 months after completing the rehabilitation programme.
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