BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: To reduce the individual, societal, and economic burden of the high sick leave rates due to chronic pain, it is essential to find effective strategies for increasing return to work (RTW). Although multimodal rehabilitation programs (MMRPs) may have positive effects on RTW, the results are inconsistent. This study explores the factors that contribute to decreasing sick leave and increasing RTW in patients with chronic pain who completed a MMRP.
METHOD: Four focus groups and three individual interviews were conducted. In total, 18 patients were interviewed. All patients had chronic pain and had completed a MMRP. They were either employed or unemployed, either working to some degree or fully on sick leave. The data were analysed using qualitative content analysis.
RESULTS: Three main categories were identified: Knowledge and understanding–prerequisites for tailored solutions; Individual adaptations–necessary but difficult to implement; and Stakeholder collaboration–needs improvement.
CONCLUSION: The participants described a variety of facilitating and limiting factors that created complex prerequisites for RTW. This finding makes it clear that these patients need tailored interventions and strong collaboration among all stakeholders throughout the rehabilitation process. Tailored interventions and collaborations could improve the effectiveness of MMRPs.