Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of comprehensive rehabilitation programs

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Comprehensive rehabilitation involving multidisciplinary involvement of healthcare professionals is available to patients with rheumatic diseases. Studies were reviewed on the effectiveness of such programs for patients with chronic low back pain, widespread pain, and rheumatoid arthritis. When effects on the various outcome measures are demonstrated, improvements can only with difficulty be attributed to a specific component of a comprehensive program.

Economic analyses for the effectiveness of comprehensive programs are scarce, but are needed by policy makers to allow optimal allocation of resources. Preferably the overall performance of comprehensive rehabilitation programs, not the individual components, should be evaluated.

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