In medicine, rehabilitation is a multiprofessional process aimed at enhancing and restoring functional ability and quality of life to people with impairments or disabilities. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, rehabilitation focuses on the sequelae of the disease as well as on the impairment due to treatments applied. COVID-19 patients may develop a myriad of acute medical problems and their treatment often requires invasive procedures: all of which can cause mid- and long-term consequences requiring rehabilitation. Rehabilitation is applied throughout the continuum of care, starting in the acute, mostly in the post-acute and continuing in the chronic phase of a disease. As well, there has been a disruption of regular rehabilitation of people with disabilities and chronic diseases due to quarantine, social isolation, movement restriction, and other healthcare systems’ disruptions. Given the current COVID-19 situation, having the best available rehabilitation evidence is even more important to help reduce 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 advise on all initiatives included in this action.
Cochrane Rehabilitation REH-COVER action currently includes four main initiatives:
- Rapid living Systematic Reviews on Rehabilitation and COVID-19 updates published monthly
- Interactive living evidence map on Rehabilitation and COVID-19
- Definition of the research topics on “Rehabilitation and COVID-19” in collaboration with the WHO rehabilitation programme
- Forthcoming Cochrane Library Special Collection: Coronavirus (COVID-19): rehabilitation of patients with functional consequences of acute illness and its treatments, will be published soon
Other initiatives under development include:
- Living Systematic Review on “current evidence on rehabilitation of patients with functional consequences of COVID-19 and its treatments”: results expected in July 2020
- Collaboration with COVID-END for the topics “rehabilitation” and “disability”: discussion started in June 2020