Rehabilitation – COVID-19 Evidence-based Response

Cochrane Rehabilitation REH-COVER

(Rehabilitation – COVID-19 Evidence-based Response) action

On January 30th 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a state of emergency to combat the spread and impact of COVID-19, a disease caused by the novel virus SARS-CoV-2.  

During this illness, patients may develop a myriad of acute medical problems, and their treatment requires invasive procedures: all of which can cause mid- and long-term consequences requiring rehabilitation.

This has led to an increased interest in the role of rehabilitation medicine in patients’ recovery. However, the intricacies of this role remain unknown and only research can provide us with the necessary answers.

The interest is further fuelled by how the consequences of quarantine, social isolation, movement restriction and healthcare systems’ disruption influence the rehabilitation of people with disabilities and chronic diseases.

Thus, it is ever more important to communicate the currently available evidence to reduce any resulting clinical uncertainty.

To update the rehabilitation community on the growing evidence for the role of rehabilitation in management of COVID-19 patients, Cochrane Rehabilitation launched the REH-COVER (Rehabilitation – COVID-19 Evidence-based Response) action.

The aim of this action is to focus on the timely collection, review and dissemination of summarized and synthesized evidence relating to COVID-19 and rehabilitation. This will create an evidence-based answer repository to the newly-risen clinical questions and problems. The action was developed by an International Multi-professional Steering Committee, whose role will continue to advice on all initiatives included in this action.

Cochrane Rehabilitation REH-COVER action currently includes four main initiatives:

1.      Rapid living Systematic Reviews on Rehabilitation and COVID-19 (1st edition started in March 2020 and published in April 2020, with monthly updates – 2nd edition started in May 2020, to be published in July 2020, with monthly updates)

2.      Interactive living evidence map on Rehabilitation and COVID-19 (started in April 2020 – published in May 2020)

3    Definition of the research topics on “Rehabilitation and COVID-19 in collaboration with the WHO rehabilitation programme (started in May 2020)

4.  Cochrane Library Special Collection: Coronavirus (COVID-19): rehabilitation of patients with functional consequences of acute illness and its treatments (started in June 2020 – published 4 November 2020)

Other initiatives are under development, which include

  • Living Systematic Review on “current evidence on rehabilitation of patients with functional consequences of COVID-19 and its treatments” (started in June 2020 – results expected in July 2020)       
  • Collaboration with COVID-END for the topics “rehabilitation” and “disability” (discussion started in June 2020)