Translating the international scientific spinal cord injury exercise guidelines into community and clinical practice guidelines: a Canadian evidence-informed resource

Spinal Cord. 2020 Jun;58(6):647-657. doi: 10.1038/s41393-019-0410-1. Epub 2020 Jan 16.


Study design: Knowledge translation (KT) study.

Objectives: To demonstrate how to use systematic, community-engaged methods to (1) translate the international scientific spinal cord injury (SCI) exercise guidelines into community and clinical practice guidelines, and (2) develop supporting resources.

Setting: Canada.

Methods: An expert panel of SCI researchers and stakeholders translated the guidelines and developed a supporting resource, using a KT process guided by an adapted version of the Appraisal of Guidelines, Research and Evaluation (AGREE) II Instrument. Pilot tests with end-users were conducted throughout.

Results: The panel recommended (1) the two scientific exercise guidelines be combined and presented in a single message titled "The Canadian SCI physical activity guidelines"; (2) development of an online supporting resource, with educational and motivational information presented in "layers" to address the needs and preferences of diverse end-users. The top layer presents and explains the Canadian SCI physical activity guidelines. The deeper layers include information on benefits, overcoming barriers, activity examples, safety tips, and links to existing resources. Interviews with adults with SCI (n = 8) and survey-data from end-users (n = 90) showed that the guidelines and supporting resource were perceived as clear, useful, and appropriate.

Conclusion: Using community-engaged methods, the two scientific SCI exercise guidelines were combined into one single physical activity guideline message. This KT process provides a template for groups in other countries to translate the scientific SCI exercise guidelines to their local settings using a similar systematic, community-engaged approach.

Sponsorship: Rick Hansen Institute; Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

MeSH terms

  • Canada
  • Exercise Therapy / standards*
  • Exercise*
  • Humans
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic / standards*
  • Societies, Scientific / standards
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / rehabilitation*