Cochrane Rehabilitation: Advancing evidence-based practice

Cochrane Rehab logo

Cochrane's strength is in its collaborative, global community. Cochrane Fields serve as a bridge between the production of relevant Cochrane evidence and the implementation of that evidence into the wider field of interest that extends across several health topics. They advocate for the use of Cochrane evidence in health policy and practice and promote awareness and use of evidence-based practices in their area. Here we spotlight the impactful work of Cochrane Rehabilitation, dedicated to enhancing evidence-based rehabilitation practices worldwide.

Cochrane Rehabilitation, formally started in 2016, serves as a bridge between Cochrane and all rehabilitation stakeholders. "Our vision is a world where all rehabilitation decisions are based on the best available evidence, accessible and understood by all," says Stefano Negrini, Director of Cochrane Rehabilitation. With a global perspective that transcends professions and languages, Cochrane Rehabilitation aims to improve the production, dissemination, implementation, and impact of Cochrane rehabilitation evidence.

The 5th Cochrane Rehabilitation Methodological Meeting

Cochrane Rehabilitation has been involved in a variety of projects to advance evidence-based practice in rehabilitation. One key initiative is the development of a comprehensive definition for rehabilitation research, which aims to standardise the description of interventions in rehabilitation research, facilitating both primary studies and systematic reviews. Another highlight has been the 5th Cochrane Rehabilitation Methodological Meeting, a global gathering focused on optimizing study designs for practical application in rehabilitation, which exemplifies their commitment to advancing the field. This work makes sure that future rehabilitation research and systematic reviews are of high quality. 

Cochrane Rehabilitation has expanded its reach through a diverse network of partners, including national, regional and international scientific societies, universities, hospitals, journals, and other rehabilitation stakeholders including consumers.  Their advisory board is composed of various stakeholder representatives and experts from various fields within rehabilitation, ensuring alignment with the evolving needs of the global rehabilitation community. They also work with Cochrane geographical groups to translate Cochrane evidence and dissemination materials into multiple languages. "Dissemination is central to what we do and our collaborations with geographical groups and external organisations enhance our efforts and uptake of evidence. We are proud to help foster a culture of knowledge exchange within the global rehabilitation community," says Chiara Arienti, Cochrane Rehabilitation Coordinator. 

Cochrane Rehab at the WHO

One notable partnership has been with the World Health Organization. Through this collaboration, they have developed Cochrane evidence maps for various health conditions, contributing to the Be4rehab project, the REH-COVER action, and the 'Evidence relevant to' project'. Since 2023, Cochrane has been an official member of the World Rehabilitation Alliance, launched by the WHO to promote rehabilitation as an essential health service.  "Our involvement with the World Rehabilitation Alliance supports the focus on promoting rehabilitation as a critical component of health services, thereby enhancing access to quality rehabilitation services worldwide. We are proud that Cochrane Rehabilitation is contributing to bringing trusted evidence to support health decisions and services in rehabilitation globally," notes Carlotte Kiekens, Co-Director of Cochrane Rehabilitation.

Looking ahead, Cochrane Rehabilitation is excited about several new initiatives, including collaborative research projects that engage with rehabilitation researchers to provide methodological guidance from the protocol phase through our Methodological Committee. "Currently, we are particularly focusing on Health Policy and Systems Research in rehabilitation, aiming to provide evidence on strategies for strengthening rehabilitation within health systems," explains Pierre Côté, Chair of the Methodological Committee. This effort aligns with the World Health Assembly resolution, whose goal is to enhance access to quality rehabilitation services worldwide.

Cochrane Rehab team

Cochrane Rehabilitation welcomes support and collaboration from other groups and organizations to amplify their impact. "We are particularly seeking support in health policy and systems research and efforts in the global south. Continuous funding is also essential to guarantee our future activities. We invite all individuals, groups, and organizations interested in rehabilitation to work with us," emphasizes Francesca Gimigliano,  Cochrane Rehabilitation's Communication Committee Chair. If you are interested in contributing to their mission, please email Whether you’re a researcher, clinician, policymaker, or advocate, there are numerous opportunities to get involved and make a difference in rehabilitation globally!

Tuesday, June 4, 2024