Background: Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) such as ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn's disease (CD) have great impact on patients' health-related quality of life (HRQOL). The aim of this study was to develop an integrated medical and psychological/ psychosocial group-based intervention program for IBD patients and to evaluate if such a program could influence the patients' HRQOL and coping abilities.
Methods: IBD patients in remission or with low disease activity were randomized to intervention or control groups. The intervention comprised nine weekly sessions, alternating lectures, and group therapy sessions. The Inflammatory Bowel Disease Questionnaire (IBDQ) and the Sense of Coherence scale (SOC) were used to measure HRQOL and coping ability at 0, 6, and 12 months. The intervention was evaluated by a visual analog scale (VAS) and written comments by a content analysis.
Results: In all, 24 patients were included in the intervention group and 20 in the control group. The mean IBDQ score showed no statistically significant differences before (173.9) or after the intervention at month 6 (175.7) or at month 12 (171.8), or when comparing intervention and controls at month 12. Similarly, there were no statistically significant differences in mean SOC before or after intervention or when comparing groups. The VAS and the content analysis showed that the intervention was well appreciated by the patients.
Conclusions: The group-based intervention program was feasible and highly appreciated. There were no statistically significant differences in average IBDQ or SOC over time or in comparison with controls, although a significant increase was seen in patients with short disease duration.