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Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1999 Oct;80(10):1282-7.

Persistent functional and social benefit 5 years after a multidisciplinary arthritis training program.

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1
Department of Internal Medicine II, University of Vienna Medical School, Austria.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To assess the sustainable benefits of a professional, multidisciplinary training program for patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

DESIGN:

Two studies with different observation periods. Study I was a prospective, randomized trial for 1 year. Study II was a noncontrolled observation over 5 years.

SETTING:

The 9-day program for eight patient groups encompassed a multidisciplinary cooperation between rheumatologists, orthopedists, physicotherapists, psychologists and social workers.

PATIENTS:

Sixty-eight consecutive patients with rheumatoid arthritis participated in an arthritis training program either immediately after enrollment in the program or after 1 year.

INTERVENTIONS:

The program covered the following fields: pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis, drug therapy, physicotherapy, practical exercise in remedial gymnastics, use of joint protection devices, orthopedic perspectives, psychological counseling, dietetics, information about unproven cures and social assistance.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Clinical outcome was assessed by self-report questionnaires: (1) Stanford Health Assessment Questionnaire, (2) Freiburg Questionnaire of Coping with Illness, (3) Beck Depression Inventory, and (4) a 21-point scale to evaluate cognitive-behavioral and environmental impact.

RESULTS:

A significant and persistent improvement of all investigated parameters was demonstrated in the 1-year controlled trial. Between the end-point of the 1-year study and the 5-year evaluation, this improvement increased even more for functional status and coping with illness, whereas depression returned to baseline values. These effects were seen even without reinforcement of the training.

CONCLUSION:

A professional, multidisciplinary approach to educate patients with rheumatoid arthritis leads to a significant and sustained improvement of the clinical outcome and is an approach that should be established as a part of conventional therapy.

PMID:
10527088
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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