Scottish researchers helped develop key WHO guidelines on rehab
'Package of interventions' issued globally for conditions such as Parkinson’s
Researchers from a university in Scotland were among the contributors to recent World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines outlining the most essential interventions in rehabilitation for 20 health conditions — including Parkinson’s disease — with high prevalence and elevated levels of associated disability.
The WHO’s “Package of Interventions for Rehabilitation” aims to help nations across the globe by providing information on the core components, equipment, assistive products, and workforce needs necessary to support top-shelf, evidence-based rehab interventions for patients across seven disease areas.
A team from Glasgow Caledonian University aided in the development of these WHO guidelines, which are designed to help countries’ Ministries of Health plan, budget for, integrate, and establish rehabilitation services in their health systems. The seven disease areas, each of which has a module, include musculoskeletal conditions, neurological conditions, cardiopulmonary conditions, neurodevelopmental disorders, sensory conditions, malignant neoplasm, and mental health conditions.
In addition, the package helps to inform the development of curricula and training materials to be used by rehabilitation personnel. Finally, it seeks to help investigators identify research gaps that need addressing.
“With the launch of these WHO rehabilitation packages, we hope to see a global movement towards the development and implementation of rehabilitation services for people who have experienced a stroke, Parkinson’s disease and other conditions, leading to national rehabilitation strategies, policies and guidelines [with] greater investment in rehabilitation services,” Alexandra Rauch, PhD, the rehabilitation program’s project lead at Glasgow Caledonian, said in a university press release.
Researcher’s work focused on communication problems in Parkinson’s
Parkinson’s disease is included in the neurological conditions module of these WHO guidelines — along with stroke, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, and dementia.
The 192-page package on neurological conditions includes a Parkinson’s section that covers the role of rehabilitation, target populations, the various functioning assessments and interventions, and assessment of caregiver and family needs. It also includes interventions for the prevention and treatment of secondary conditions related to Parkinson’s, and an overview of the resources required for rehab in the disease.
Research published by Marian Brady, PhD, a professor of stroke care and rehabilitation at Glasgow Caledonian, and senior research fellow Pauline Campbell, PhD, of the School of Health and Life Sciences’ Research Centre for Health, contributed to the package’s development.
Brady also was appointed to the WHO package development group that included multidisciplinary rehab experts from across 16 countries, including Brazil, Canada, Estonia, Italy, India, Japan, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, and the U.S.
“As a member of the development group, we reviewed the available evidence to support the wide range of multidisciplinary rehabilitation interventions for people with Parkinson’s,” Brady said.
“The research evidence and clinical experience informed discussions, voting and decision-making as to whether the rehabilitation components were essential to the delivery of a rehabilitation service and what workforce, equipment and products would be required to deliver that intervention,” Brady added.
It has been wonderful to see that our research on stroke and Parkinson’s disease has underpinned the development of these important rehabilitation templates which will support the development and implementation of the latest evidence-based rehabilitation services for people with communication problems associated with stroke and Parkinson’s.
Along with Campbell, Brady now is updating the Cochrane review of Parkinson’s treatment. The U.K.-based Cochrane gathers and summarizes scientific research to help people make informed health decisions.
Brady recently led the Scottish recruitment for participants in a National Institute for Health and Care Research-funded trial evaluating rehabilitation interventions for patients with Parkinson’s-associated speech problems. Such disorders affect as many as 90% of patients. Collectively called hypokinetic dysarthria, these conditions include hoarseness, low speech volume, pronunciation difficulties, monotone pitch, and variable speech speed.
“It has been wonderful to see that our research on stroke and Parkinson’s disease has underpinned the development of these important rehabilitation templates which will support the development and implementation of the latest evidence-based rehabilitation services for people with communication problems associated with stroke and Parkinson’s,” Brady said.
“Our research highlighted effective approaches to rehabilitation interventions, dosage, and delivery for people with these acquired neurological disorders which will provide Ministries of Health with the information needed to put in place rehabilitation services for people that develop these neurological conditions globally,” Brady added.