Background: For patients with chronic pain, the heterogeneity of clinical presentations makes it difficult to identify patients who would benefit from multimodal rehabilitation programs (MMRP). Yet, there is limited knowledge regarding the predictors of MMRP’s outcomes. This study identifies predictors of outcome of MMRPs at a 12-month follow-up (FU-12) based on data from the Swedish Quality Registry for Pain Rehabilitation (SQRP).
Methods: Patients with chronic pain from two clinical departments in Sweden completed the SQRP questionnaires—background, pain characteristics, psychological symptoms, function, activity/participation, health and quality of life—on three occasions: 1) during their first visit; 2) immediately after the completion of their MMRP; and 3) 12 months after completing the MMRP (n = 227). During the FU-12, the patients also retrospectively reported their global impressions of any changes in their perception of pain and their ability to handle their life situation in general.
Results: Significant improvements were found for pain, psychological symptoms, activity/participation, health, and quality of life aspects with low/medium strong effects.
A general pattern was observed from the analyses of the changes from baseline to FU-12; the largest improvements in outcomes were significantly associated with poor situations according to their respective baseline scores. Although significant regressors of the investigated outcomes were found, the significant predictors were weak and explained a minor part of the variation in outcomes (15–25%). At the FU-12, 53.6% of the patients reported that their pain had decreased and 80.1% reported that their life situation in general had improved. These improvements were associated with high education, low pain intensity, high health level, and work importance (only pain perception). The explained variations were low (9–11%).
Conclusions: Representing patients in real-world clinical settings, this study confirmed systematic reviews that outcomes of MMRP are associated with broad positive effects. A mix of background and baseline variables influenced the outcomes investigated, but the explained variations in outcomes were low. There is still a need to develop standardized and relatively simple outcomes that can be used to evaluate MMRP in trials, in clinical evaluations at group level, and for individual patients.