Background Rehabilitation in warm climate has long been an established non-pharmacological treatment for patients with inflammatory rheumatic disease (IRD) in Norway. It has however not been tailored to the needs of young adults, who often have different challenges than older adults with IRD.
Objectives The aim of this study was to investigate if a rehabilitation program in warm climate tailored to young adults from 20 to 35 years had effect on physical function and self-management/coping, 12 months after completed intervention.
Methods This was an open randomized controlled pilot trial, with a 2-group parallel design and a 1:1 allocation ratio. Patients were recruited from three different rheumatology outpatient clinics in central Norway. The intervention group received a 17 day long rehabilitation stay in Spain. The main component of the tailored intervention was intensive exercise (2–3 times per/day), individual physiotherapy (daily) and patient education. The control group received treatment as usual. The primary outcome measure was physical function assessed by the “30 second Sit to Stand test” (30sSTS, number of sit and stand during 30 seconds, higher score is better) and self-management/coping measured by the “Effective Musculoskeletal Consumer Scale” (EC17, higher score is better).
Results Forty patients (mean age 27.5, 65% female) with IRD (intervention/control: 3/2 rheumatoid arthritis, 3/9 juvenile idiopathic arthritis, 4/5 psoriatic arthritis, 8/3 ankylosing spondylitis and 2/1 polyarthritis) were randomized. 19 out of 20 patients completed the intervention. At twelve months follow up there were 3 patients lost to follow up from the intervention group, and 2 in the control group. Patients in the intervention group had a significant improvement in the 30sSTS test 3, 6 and 12 months after completed intervention, compared to the control group (Table 1). The within group analysis showed that both groups improved at 6 and 12 months. The EC17 showed no difference between the two groups at 3, 6 or 12 months.
Conclusions The results indicate that the intervention group significantly improved their physical function one year after the intervention compared to the control group, but there was no effect on self-management/coping. These results might reflect that the focus of the intervention was mainly intensive exercise, and less on self-management /coping. This was a small study and the results should be interpreted with caution.
Disclosure of Interest None declared