Effectiveness of physical rehabilitation in improving physical functioning and quality of life for long-term-care residents with dementia: a systematic review protocol

JBI Evid Synth. 2023 Jan 1;21(1):207-213. doi: 10.11124/JBIES-22-00096.


Objective: The objective of this review is to evaluate the effectiveness of physical rehabilitation versus non-rehabilitation control in improving physical functioning and quality of life in long-term care residents with dementia.

Introduction: Many long-term-care residents live with dementia and have impaired physical function and poor quality of life. Physical rehabilitation can improve physical function and quality of life for people living with dementia, yet many long-term-care residents with dementia do not receive this intervention, and health care providers are unsure of which rehabilitation interventions are effective. Studies synthesizing effective rehabilitation programs are needed to guide practice in the long-term-care sector where many residents live with dementia. Previous studies have focused broadly on long-term care, specific professions, interventions or outcomes, or people with dementia in the community. Our review will focus on long-term-care residents living with dementia and a broader definition of physical rehabilitation.

Inclusion criteria: This review will include studies that evaluate physical rehabilitation in comparison with non-rehabilitation controls among long-term-care residents with any severity of dementia. We will include studies that measure the effect on performance-based physical functioning and self- or proxy-reported quality of life.

Methods: Searches will be conducted in APA PsycINFO (EBSCO), CINAHL (EBSCO), MEDLINE (Ovid), Embase, Scopus, and the Cochrane CENTRAL database with no date or language limitations. Two independent reviewers will conduct a critical appraisal of eligible studies, assess methodological quality, and extract the data. Where possible, studies will be pooled in a statistical meta-analysis.

Systematic review registration number: PROSPERO CRD42022308444.

MeSH terms

  • Dementia* / rehabilitation
  • Humans
  • Long-Term Care*
  • Meta-Analysis as Topic
  • Neurological Rehabilitation* / methods
  • Physical Therapy Modalities*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Recovery of Function
  • Review Literature as Topic