Project: What characterizes rehabilitation that benefits return to work

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Through the rehabilitation warranty the government has invested billions of dollars on evidence-based rehabilitation in order to reduce sickness absence among people with long-term back and neck pain and among individuals with mild to moderate mental illness. The evidence-based treatments as part of the rehabilitation guarantee are multimodal rehabilitation (MMR) for patients with chronic pain disorders, and psychological treatment mainly cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for patients with mental illness. The results of KI:s national evaluation of the rehabilitation guarantee indicates improved health and work ability after treatment. However, absenteeism did not decrease more among people who took part of the effort compared to those who did not. Although the rehabilitation guarantee as reform focused on return to work and has been completed in the county councils there are still many unanswered questions about what factors contributes in a successful rehabilitation and return to work.


  1. To what extent is the work based on current evidence in MMR and PB? E.g. in terms of dealing with skills, frequency of treatment and interaction with the workplace.
  2. Is rehabilitation with a high degree of evidence more effective in reducing sick leave after MMR and PB than rehabilitation with less evidence-based elements?
  3. What impact has the team, its operation, composition, properties, and cooperation for the effect of MMR when it comes to reducing sickness absence?


The project is divided in two studies. In the first study, which is based on questionnaires and index data, examines the degree of evidence that is used in the rehabilitation programs and the characteristics of the teams.  To examine whether these variables influence the rehabilitation outcome in terms of reduced sick leave rates index data from the Social Insurance Agency will be gathered.

The qualitative study focus on exploring and describing health professionals’ experiences of working with return to work in multimodal rehabilitation for people with non-specific pain and their experiences of working in rehabilitation teams. By performing both qualitative and quantitative studies this project will contribute valuable knowledge on how MMR and psychological treatment is provided in the clinical context and what factors that influence successful rehabilitation.



Therese Hellman

Phone: +46-(0)8-524 832 74
Organizational unit: Intervention and implementation research


  • Socialdepartementet
Implementation researchIntervention research