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Examining Clinical Practice Guidelines for Exercise and Physical Activity as Part of Rehabilitation for People with Stroke: A Systematic Review

Church, Gavin, Ali, Ali, Smith, Christine, Broom, David and Sage, Karen ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7365-5177 (2022) Examining Clinical Practice Guidelines for Exercise and Physical Activity as Part of Rehabilitation for People with Stroke: A Systematic Review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19 (3). p. 1707. ISSN 1660-4601

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Abstract

Background: Stroke is the leading cause of chronic physical disability in Western industrialised nations. Despite clear guidelines for exercise in individuals with many non-communicable diseases, the guidance for people with stroke (PwS) who frequently present with multiple comorbidities is less clear. A systematic review of exercise guidelines was undertaken to synthesise themes and patterns. Methods: The review was completed according to the PRISMA statement. Guideline-specific databases were searched for worldwide clinical practice guidelines (CPGs). All included papers underwent quality assessment using the AGREE II protocol. Content synthesis and analysis of the guidelines was undertaken using CERT. Results: Searching identified 2184 papers. After duplicate removal and screening by title and abstract, 22 CPGs remained for review. Seven guidelines identified three key roles for exercise interventions: (1) promoting a healthy lifestyle, (2) prevention of further strokes and (3) rehabilitation. Of concern, many CPGs fail to recommend appropriate safety measures and standards, pre-, during and post-exercise or tailor for specific needs. Conclusions: Global guidelines for exercise in PwS lack in-depth and technical information on the exercise delivery methods, application and dosage required to progress exercise interventions for PwS.

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