Background Individual Placement and Support (IPS) is an evidence-based work rehabilitation model with well-documented effects for people with mental illness. The model has, however, never been tested out for people with chronic pain. This pilot study aimed to investigate chronic pain patients’ experiences with the IPS job support model. Methods We recruited eight consecutive patients referred for various chronic pain conditions at a hospital outpatient pain clinic. They were offered IPS job support as an integrated part of their interdisciplinary pain rehabilitation. The patients’ experiences were investigated through semi-structured interviews 3 months after inclusion in the study. Results The participants reported mostly positive experiences with IPS. One participant dropped out of the study after deterioration of symptoms, while the remaining participants were satisfied with the intervention. Particular helpful aspects of the IPS intervention were the follow-up from the employment specialist, focus on competitive employment, focus on work despite pain complaints, reframing work into something positive, administrative support, and practice in writing applications. No participants reported adverse experiences from the IPS intervention. Within a 12-months time frame, 3 of the 8 participants gained competitive employment. Conclusions This is the first report of the IPS model of supported employment applied in an outpatient setting for chronic pain patients. The results suggest that IPS can be successfully integrated with interdisciplinary pain rehabilitation, and warrants large-scale testing in a randomized controlled trial.
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