The Effect of physical therapy on impairments in COVID-19 patients from intensive care to home rehabilitation: A rapid review

Authors

  • Ruben Debeuf
  • Eva Swinnen
  • Tine Plattiau
  • Ann De Smedt
  • Elisabeth De Waele
  • Stijn Roggeman
  • Marc Schiltz
  • David Beckwée
  • Emma De Keersmaecker Rehabilitation Research, Department of Physiotherapy, Human Physiology and Anatomy, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.2340/jrm.v53.8

Keywords:

COVID-19, physical therapy, rehabilitation

Abstract

Objective: Guidelines regarding physical therapy for COVID-19 patients are often based on expert opinion. Recent clinical trials have reported effects on several rehabilitation outcomes in COVID-19 patients. This review summarizes the effects of physical therapy in COVID-19 patients.

Data sources: PubMed, Web of Science and Scopus databases were systematically searched for studies investigating the effect of any physical therapy modality on impairments in adult COVID-19 patients. Included studies were (non)-randomized controlled trials, pre-experimental studies, and cohort studies in which a pre–post analysis was performed.

Data extraction: After the screening process, data of interest were extracted from eligible studies and their risk of bias was assessed. Included outcome measures were divided into 3 groups: pulmonary function, physical function, and psychosocial function.

Data synthesis: A total of 15 studies were included in this review. Physical therapy seems to have positive effects on pulmonary function, physical function, and psychosocial function. However, these effects differ between clinical settings (e.g. home care, intensive care unit, inpatient units). Due to the low-to-moderate quality of the included studies, no robust conclusions can be drawn.

Conclusion: Further high-quality research is required, taking into account the different clinical settings, in order to draw conclusions about the effectiveness of physical therapy on impairments in COVID-19 patients.

 

Lay Abstract

Guidelines regarding physical therapy for COVID-19 patients are often based on expert opinion or on evidence from studies of physical therapy in patients with other diseases. More and more clinical studies are investigat-ing the effect of physical therapy on the recovery of COVID-19 patients. Prior to this review, the importance of physical therapy for COVID-19 patients was not clear. This review summarizes the effects of physical therapy in COVID-19 patients. We reviewed and assessed the quality of the existing literature on this topic. Fifteen studies with a total of 1,341 COVID-19 patients were included in this review. Physical therapy appears to improve lung function, physical function, and psychosocial func-tion in COVID-19 patients. However, the effect can differ between clinical settings; for example, home care, intensive care unit, or other inpatient units. Due to the low-to-moderate quality of the included studies, no robust conclusion can be drawn. Further high-quality research is needed, taking into account the different clinical settings.

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Additional Files

Published

2021-10-11

How to Cite

Debeuf, R., Swinnen, E., Plattiau, T., De Smedt, A. ., De Waele, E., Roggeman, S., Schiltz, M., Beckwée, D., & De Keersmaecker, E. (2021). The Effect of physical therapy on impairments in COVID-19 patients from intensive care to home rehabilitation: A rapid review. Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine, 53. https://doi.org/10.2340/jrm.v53.8

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Review

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