Quality of Life Research

, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 381–391 | Cite as

Health-related quality of life in patients with chronic rheumatic disease after a multidisciplinary rehabilitation regimen

  • C. Couppé
  • J. Comins
  • N. Beyer
  • S. E. Hansen
  • D. S. Stodolsky
  • V. Siersma



Multidisciplinary rehabilitation has beneficial effects on health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in patients with chronic rheumatic diseases. However, whether this intervention benefits different age groups in women or men is largely unknown.


To investigate HRQoL in patients with chronic rheumatic disease after completion of a 3-week multidisciplinary treatment, with special focus on differences in effect between age and gender groups.


HRQoL was measured with SF-36. Mean scores for all SF-36 domains were compared before and after the 3-week regimen and again at 3-, 6-, and 12-month follow-ups. Multivariable linear regression models using generalized estimating equations to account for repeated measurement were employed. A weighting procedure to account for differential dropouts was applied.


Three hundred fifty-six women and 74 men with chronic rheumatic disease were included. There were short-term improvements in all SF-36 domains irrespective of age or gender. These effects persisted for up to 1 year in the psychological, social, and energy domains for women under 50. We found no lasting effects for men; however, young men showed similar trends.


Inpatient multidisciplinary rehabilitation improves short-term HRQoL in all patients. Younger women maintain these beneficial effects for up to 1 year. Additional intervention should be considered for elderly women and for men in order to sustain rehabilitation effects.


Multidisciplinary rehabilitation Health-related quality of life Chronic rheumatic diseases Long-term effects Elderly 



We thank Fritze Flink, P.T. and Lis Seiling, R.N., from the Center for Health and Rehabilitation, SANO, Danish Association for Rheumatism, for excellent technical assistance.


This study was supported by the Danish Medical Research Council and the Danish Association for Rheumatism. J.D. Comins, P.T., PhD was funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) Advanced Rehabilitation Research Training Fellowship at Boston University (Grant No. H133P120001) and IOC Sports Medicine, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery M, Bispebjerg Hospital, and Center for Healthy Aging, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflicts interests.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Couppé
    • 1
    • 2
  • J. Comins
    • 2
    • 3
    • 6
    • 7
  • N. Beyer
    • 1
    • 2
  • S. E. Hansen
    • 4
  • D. S. Stodolsky
    • 5
  • V. Siersma
    • 3
  1. 1.Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation Research Unit, Department of Physical TherapyBispebjerg HospitalCopenhagenDenmark
  2. 2.IOC Sports Medicine, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery M, Bispebjerg Hospital and Center for Healthy Aging, Faculty of Health SciencesUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark
  3. 3.Research Unit and Department of General Practice, Institute of Public HealthUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark
  4. 4.SANO, Center for Health and RehabilitationDanish Association for RheumatismCopenhagenDenmark
  5. 5.Institute for Social InformaticsCopenhagenDenmark
  6. 6.Health and Disability Research InstituteBoston University School of Public HealthBostonUSA
  7. 7.Department of RheumatologyZealand University HospitalRoskildeDenmark

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