Rehabilitation Care at the Time of Coronavirus Disease-19 (COVID-19) Pandemic: A Scoping Review of Health System Recommendations Academic Article uri icon

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  • Purpose: The coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization in March 2020. COVID-19, caused by SARS-CoV-2 has imposed a significant burden on health care systems, economies, and social systems in many countries around the world. The provision of rehabilitation services for persons with active COVID-19 infection poses challenges to maintaining a safe environment for patients and treating providers.Materials and Methods: Established frameworks were used to guide the scoping review methodology. Medline, Embase, Pubmed, CINAHL databases from inception to August 1, 2020, and prominent rehabilitation organizations’ websites were searched.Study Selection: We included articles and reports if they were focused on rehabilitation related recommendations for COVID-19 patients, treating providers, or the general population.Data Extraction: Pairs of team members used a pre-tested data abstraction form to extract data from included full-text articles. The strength and the quality of the extracted recommendations were evaluated by two reviewers using the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) approach.Results: We retrieved 6,468 citations, of which 2,086 were eligible for review, after duplicates were removed. We excluded 1,980 citations based on title and abstract screening. Of the screened full-text articles, we included all 106 studies. A summary of recommendations is presented. We assessed the overall evidence to be strong and of fair quality.Conclusion: The rehabilitation setting, and processes, logistics, and patient and healthcare provider precaution recommendations identified aim to reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2 infection and ensure adequate and safe rehabilitation services, whether face-to-face or through teleservices. The COVID-19 pandemic is rapidly changing. Further updates will be needed over time in order to incorporate emerging best evidence into rehabilitation guidelines.


  • Negm, Ahmed M
  • Salopek, Adrian
  • Zaide, Mashal
  • Meng, Victoria J
  • Prada, Carlos
  • Chang, Yaping
  • Zanwar, Preeti
  • Santos, Flavia H
  • Philippou, Elena
  • Rosario, Emily R
  • Faieta, Julie
  • Falvey, Jason R
  • Kumar, Amit
  • Reistetter, Timothy A
  • Dal Bello-Haas, Vanina
  • Bean, Jonathan F
  • Bhandari, Mohit
  • Heyn, Patricia C

publication date

  • January 2021