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Proving the Value of Interdisciplinary Care

Review of Pediatric Pain Program Returns Encouraging Results

A news report appearing earlier this week in Hospitals and Health Networks® discusses the achievements of the Pediatric Pain Rehabilitation Program offered by Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota. Since 2008, the 3-week hospital based outpatient program has treated over 1,400 adolescent and young adult patients with chronic pain ranging from migraine to fibromyalgia to chronic regional pain syndrome, among other conditions. A study of 1,000 participants in the program conducted earlier this year reported that self-reported scores of functional disability improved by 67% and depression levels declined by 47%. The program was also successful in tapering most participants off opioid medications during or shortly following program completion.

The Mayo Clinic approach combines intensive physical, occupational, and cognitive behavioral therapy that is individualized to a patient’s specific needs. Group therapy and socializing with other program participants is also important. Clinical director Cynthia Harbeck-Weber, PhD, noted “It’s not just being with people their own age, but also people who are going through something similar. From a developmental perspective, friendships are a really important part of an adolescent’s life.” Caregiver engagement and participation is another component of the Mayo Clinic approach, with the requirement that at least 1 parent join with the patient for the duration of the program. Mayo’s efforts to ensure payor acceptance has resulted in insurance coverage for about 92% of patients, but, the article acknowledges, the financial and logistical challenges of onsite participation remain.

Read the news story about the Mayo Clinic Program.

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