Providing research evidence for WHO guidelines on rehabilitation services

Reasons for the study

According to 2011 data, one in seven people around the world live with a disability, 80 per cent in low- to middle-income countries where rehabilitation services are wanting or even non-existent. Unmet needs for rehabilitation services can affect people with disabilities in a number of ways, potentially leading to a deterioration in general health status, activity limitations, participation restrictions and reduced quality of life. That’s why strengthening rehabilitation is emerging as a key challenge facing health systems in the 21st century, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). This project aims to synthesize the research evidence on a host of questions to support the WHO in establishing guidelines on rehabilitation services.

Objectives of the study

  • To determine what service-provision models work for different health conditions/resource settings/phases to ensure the delivery of rehabilitation services
  • To determine what types of assessment tools can be used to ensure individuals’ rehabilitation needs are adequately identified

Anticipated results/impact

The results from this review will inform the World Health Organization’s guidelines on health-related rehabilitation.

Related presentations

Related interviews and articles

New World Health Organization guidelines on rehabilitation tap into Institute synthesis. At Work: Institute for Work & Health; No. 88, Spring 2017.

Project status


Research team

Andrea Furlan, Institute for Work & Health (PI)
Dorcas Beaton, Institute for Work & Health
Cynthia Chen, Institute for Work & Health
Mary Cicinelli, Institute for Work & Health
Jocelyn Dollack, Institute for Work & Health
Emma Irvin, Institute for Work & Health
Carol Kennedy-Yee, Institute for Work & Health
Claire Munhall, Institute for Work & Health
Mark Bayley, University of Toronto
Rohit Bhide, University of Toronto
Alicia Costante, University of Toronto
Cory Borkhoff, University of Toronto
Shivang Danak, University of Toronto
John Flannery, University of Toronto
Laura Fullerton, University of Toronto
Stanislav Marchenko, University of Toronto
Kristen Pitzul, University of Toronto
Manisha Sachdeva, University of Toronto
Gaetan Tardif, University of Toronto
Judy David, Christian Medical College Hospital
Rob McMaster, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
Mario Prieto, Hospital Universitario San Vicente Fundación

Participating organizations

Toronto Institute of Rehabilitation
University of Sao Paulo - Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
University of Toronto
World Health Organization

Funded by

World Health Organization