An internationally-recognised team of experts from Glasgow Caledonian University have contributed to the development of the recently launched World Health Organization (WHO) Rehabilitation Packages for Stroke and Parkinson’s Disease.

High-quality rehabilitation shortens recovery time, prevents complications and improves physical and mental health, and WHO has defined rehabilitation is a human right and an essential component of universal health services.

The WHO Rehabilitation Packages provide vital information for international countries on the core components, workforce needs, assistive products and equipment required to support the delivery of high-quality, evidence-based rehabilitation interventions for people living various health conditions. The packages help Ministries of Health to plan, budget, integrate and implement rehabilitation services into international health systems.

The Rehabilitation Packages for Stroke and Parkinson’s Disease are two of such packages relating to 20 health conditions across seven disease area-specific groups associated with disability.

Research published by Professor of Stroke Care and Rehabilitation Marian Brady and senior research fellow Dr Pauline Campbell, from the School of Health and Life Sciences’ Research Centre for Health (ReaCH), underpinned the development of the guidelines.

Professor Brady was also appointed to the development group which included multidisciplinary rehabilitation experts from across 16 countries including Brazil, Canada, Estonia, Italy, India, Japan, Nigeria, Saudia Arabia and the USA.

Professor Brady said: “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.

“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.”

Describing her WHO role, Professor Brady added: “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. 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. “

Drs Alarcos Cieza, the Unit Head from the WHO Department of Noncommunicable Diseases, said: “Professor Brady contributed as a member of the Development Group for Parkinson’s Disease to the Development of World Health Organizations’s Package of Interventions for Rehabilitation (PIR).

“The PIR will be a WHO resource containing information on evidence-based interventions for rehabilitation that will support member states with relevant information to facilitate the integration of rehabilitation in all service delivery platforms in countries, with a specific focus on the low- and middle resource context.”

Dr Alexandra Rauch, the Rehabilitation Programme Project Lead, said: “I want to take the opportunity to express, on behalf of the whole WHO Rehabilitation Programme Team under the lead of Alarcos Cieza, our gratitude for working with us on the development of the Package of Interventions for Rehabilitation. We highly appreciate the expertise, energy, and passion put into this work!

“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 while greater investment in rehabilitation services which are inconsistently available internationally.“

Professor Brady and Dr Campbell are currently updating the Cochrane review of therapy for people with Parkinson’s. Professor Brady recently led the Scottish recruitment to an NIHR HTA-funded trial of rehabilitation interventions for people with speech problems associated with Parkinson’s.