Evaluation of a multiprofessional rehabilitation programme for persistent musculoskeletal-related pain: Economic benefits of return to work
Jan-Rickard Norrefalk, Karolina Ekholm, Jürgen Linder, Kristian Borg, Jan Ekholm
Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the economic consequences of an 8-week multiprofessional rehabilitation programme for patients with persistent pain.
Subjects: A group of 67 patients following the programme and a comparison group of 322 patients.
Methods: The effect on return to work was estimated using 3 different methods: (i) a matched sample approach; (ii) regression analysis; and (iii) propensity score matching. The economic benefit of the programme was estimated as a reduction in production losses due to sick-leave. This benefit was compared with the actual cost of the programme.
Results: The benefit of the programme was estimated to be €3,799–7,515 per treated patient and year. The total cost of the programme was estimated to be €5,406 per patient. Based on these figures the total cost of the programme, including costs for patients remaining on sick-leave, had been recovered when the successfully rehabilitated patients had worked for 9–17 months. Any additional work after that yielded net economic benefits.
Conclusion: Since other studies indicate that a large proportion of the patients working after one year also work after 3 and 6 years, we conclude that this multiprofessional rehabilitation programme for patients with persistent pain most likely generates substantial net economic gains.
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