Telerehabilitation for persons with multiple sclerosis. A Cochrane review

Farees Khan, Bhasker Amatya, Jurg Kesselring, Mary Pauline Galea

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41 Citations (Scopus)


A wide range of telerehabilitation interventions are trialled in persons with multiple sclerosis (pwMS). However, the evidence for their effectiveness is unclear. Aim of the review was to systematically assess the effectiveness and safety of telerehabilitation intervention in pwMS, the types of approaches that are effective (setting, type, intensity) and the outcomes (impairment, activity limitation and participation) that are affected. The search strategy comprised: Cochrane Multiple Sclerosis and Rare Diseases of the Central Nervous System Review Group Specialised Register (up to 9 July, 2014). Relevant journals and reference lists of identified studies were screened for additional data. Selected studies included randomized and controlled clinical trials that compared telerehabilitation intervention/s in pwMS with a control intervention (such as lower level or different types of intervention, minimal intervention; waiting-list controls, no treatment or usual care; interventions given in different settings). Best evidence synthesis was based on methodological quality using the GRADEpro software. Nine RCTs (N.=531 participants, 469 included in analyses) investigated a variety of telerehabilitation interventions in adults with MS. The interventions evaluated were complex, with more than one rehabilitation component and included physical activity, educational, behavioural and symptom management programmes. All studies scored low on the methodological quality assessment. Evidence from included studies provides low-level evidence for reduction in short-term disability (and symptoms) such as fatigue. There was also low-level evidence supporting telerehabilitation in the longer term for improved functional activities, impairments (such as fatigue, pain, insomnia); and participation. There were limited data on process evaluation (participants /therapists satisfaction) and no data available for cost effectiveness. There were no adverse events reported as a result of telerehabilitation intervention. There is limited evidence to date, on the efficacy of telerehabilitation in improving functional activities, fatigue and quality of life in adults with MS. There is also insufficient evidence to support what types of telerehabilitation interventions are effective, and in which setting. More robust trials are needed to build evidence for the clinical and cost effectiveness of these interventions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311 - 325
Number of pages15
JournalEuropean Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine
Issue number3 (Art. No: CD10508)
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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