Healthcare professional experiences with patients who participate in multimodal pain rehabilitation in primary care – a qualitative study.

The objective of this study was to explore healthcare professional experiences of Multimodal rehabilitation (MMR) in primary care. Fourteen healthcare professionals (11 women, 3 men) were individually interviewed about their work with MMR in primary care. Interviews covered experiences of assessing patients and work with patients in the programme. Transcribed interviews were analysed by qualitative content analysis. The analysis resulted in four categories: select patients for success; a multilevel challenge; ethical dilemmas and considering what is a good result. MMR work was experienced as useful and efficient, but also challenging because of patient complexity. Preconceptions about who is a suitable patient for MMR influenced the selection of patients (e.g. gender, different culture). Interviewees were conflicted about not to being able to offer MMR to patients who were not going to return to work. They thought that there were more factors to evaluate MMR than by the proportion that return to work.

Healthcare professionals perceive MMR as a helpful method for treating chronic pain patients. At the same time, they thought that only including patients who would return to work conflicted with their ethical views on equal healthcare for all patients. Preconceptions can influence selection for, and work with, MMR. Implications for rehabilitation Multimodal pain rehabilitation in primary healthcare is challenging because of the complexity of the patients. Healthcare professionals must deal with conflicting emotions in regard to different commitments from healthcare legislation and the goals of multimodal rehabilitation. Healthcare professionals should be aware that stereotypes regarding gender and immigrants can lead to bias when selecting patients for multimodal rehabilitation.