Background: Depression is a common comorbidity in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and is associated with decreased quality of life. Identifying treatments that aid psychological and physical rehabilitation in patients with MS provides valuable information for interdisciplinary teams.

Methods: Seventy-five adults with MS who completed the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) and Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) Global Health scale during routine physical therapy appointments where the (CAREN) system was used were studied. Data were retrospective and collected via patient-reported outcomes. Group comparisons used two-sample t tests or Mann-Whitney U tests for continuous variables and Fisher exact tests for categorical variables. To examine self-reported depression, mean ± SD baseline scores were computed and stratified by number of CAREN sessions.

Results: Patients with five or more sessions seemed to have lower baseline PHQ-9 and PROMIS Mental Health scores; however, no significant differences were found at the univariate level. There were no statistically significant differences in follow-up scores for the outcome measures.

Conclusions: Current research evaluating the rehabilitation of patients with MS using the CAREN system is scarce. This pilot study is important to inform prospective studies exploring use of the CAREN system for psychological rehabilitation. Patients with five or more CAREN sessions had lower baseline PHQ-9 scores, which may suggest that mood plays a role in the selection of patients for CAREN system use. This study shows that mood is not affected by the CAREN system. More specific research needs to be completed with a more robust sample.

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