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.