Background: Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) has a substantial impact on patients health-related quality of life (HRQoL). In this study, we examined the impact of adaptation courses on HRQoL, psychological well-being, depression and number of sick-leave days of IBD patients.
Methods: The study recruited 142 IBD patients attending an adaptation course of 5-12 days. The courses were specially designed for IBD patients and included multidisciplinary information about IBD, peer support, group activities and encouragement for adequate physical exercise. The participants completed the study questionnaire at the beginning and the end of the course and after six and 12 months of follow-up. HRQoL was assessed with the generic 15-dimensional (15D) tool and depression with Beck's Depression Inventory (BDI). Utilization of health care services and work absenteeism was also assessed. Visual analog scales were used for assessing psychological functioning.
Results: 15D, BDI scores and scores describing psychological well-being were significantly better at the end of the course when compared to baseline (15D 0.82 vs. 0.84, p < .001; BDI 11.8 vs. 8.5, p < .001). Positive results were maintained during follow up. The percentage of patients receiving peer support rose from 32 to 70% and those with peer support had better HRQoL at the 12-month follow-up (p = .01). No significant change in health care utilization or number of sick-leave days was observed.
Conclusion: Adaptation training appears to have a positive impact on the psychological well-being of IBD patients. Peer support appears to be an important factor.
Keywords: Adaptation training; health-related quality of life; inflammatory bowel disease; peer support; psychological well-being.