Ghaidar D, Sippel A, Riemann-Lorenz K, Kofahl C, Morrison R, Kleiter I, Schmidt S, Dettmers C, Schulz H, Heesen C.

Background: Managing multiple sclerosis (MS) includes different treatment approaches. Rehabilitation is a key strategy in MS for improving functioning, activity and participation. As part of a larger study on overall patient experiences with different treatment approaches, this study aims to give an overview of different patients‘ experiences and perspectives on inpatient rehabilitation in MS. Methods: We conducted problem-centered interviews in 50 persons with MS in Germany, of whom most had relapsing-remitting MS. We used the maximum variation sampling method during recruitment. Data were analyzed thematically. Results: As a result of the analysis, three major themes were identified: 1) factors contributing to the decision-making concerning rehabilitation, 2) experience with the rehabilitation setting, 3) benefits of rehabilitation treatments. The treating physicians‘ attitude had a major impact on the decision to either opt for rehabilitation or not. Setting goals prior to rehabilitation was given a high priority. Exchanging experiences with other persons with MS presented a major benefit from rehabilitation while for some being separated from regular daily life resulted in a more ambiguous attitude ranging from appreciation of escaping daily hassles to substantial behavioral change management. Conclusion: Patients reported various experiences in the process of decision-making with regard to rehabilitation. Physicians´ advice, goal setting and the selection of the most suitable rehabilitation clinic were considered most relevant.

BMC Health Serv Res. 2022 Jun 11;22(1):770

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