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BMC Health Services Research





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Background: Physical rehabilitation is often prescribed immediately following a neurological event or a neurological diagnosis. However, many individuals require physical rehabilitation after hospital discharge. The purpose of this scoping review was to determine the amount of physical rehabilitation that individuals living in the community with neurological conditions receive to understand current global practices and assess gaps in research and service use. Methods: This scoping review included observational studies that 1) involved adults living with a neurological condition, and 2) quantified the amount of rehabilitation being received in the community or outpatient hospital setting. Only literature published in English was considered. MEDLINE, EMBASE, AMED, CINAHL, Cochrane Library, and PEDro databases were searched from inception. Two independent reviewers screened titles and abstracts, followed by full texts, and data extraction. Mean annual hours of rehabilitation was estimated based on the amount of rehabilitation reported in the included studies. Results: Overall, 18 studies were included after screen 14,698 articles. The estimated mean annual hours of rehabilitation varied greatly (4.9 to 155.1 h), with individuals with spinal cord injury and stroke receiving the greatest number of hours. Participants typically received more physical therapy than occupational therapy (difference range: 1 to 22 h/year). Lastly, only one study included individuals with progressive neurological conditions, highlighting a research gap. Discussion: The amount of rehabilitation received by individuals with neurological conditions living in the community varies greatly. With such a wide range of time spent in rehabilitation, it is likely that the amount of rehabilitation being received by most individuals in the community is insufficient to improve function and quality of life. Future work should identify the barriers to accessing rehabilitation resources in the community and how much rehabilitation is needed to observe functional improvements.