Objective: To investigate patients' and occupational physicians' satisfaction with the quality of a vocational rehabilitation programme for maintaining work ability in chronic rheumatic diseases.
Methods: The vocational rehabilitation programme was developed for patients with rheumatic diseases and consisted of systematic assessment of the problems at work and the development of individual solutions. The programme was run by a multidisciplinary team comprising a rheumatologist, a social worker, a physical and occupational therapist, and a psychologist. Satisfaction ratings were measured using a multidimensional questionnaire involving a rating scale (0–10) and a structured telephone interview.
Results: 59 of the 65 patients who participated in the programme (91%) completed the questionnaire. Patients were most satisfied with the interpersonal approach and professional knowledge, and least satisfied with the waiting time for the final report and the practical application of the given advice. Mean satisfaction score was 7.3 (SD 1.0). Twenty eight of the occupational physicians involved were interviewed. They were satisfied with the programme overall; 21 (75%) stated that their role in the vocational rehabilitation process could be defined more clearly, and they would appreciate more contact with the team members, preferably in the early phases.
Conclusions: Patients' and occupational physicians' satisfaction with a multidisciplinary vocational rehabilitation programme was good. Areas for improvement mainly concerned the speed of the process and the communication between team members and occupational physicians.