One of the most challenging tasks in the practice of medicine is to be sure of the effectiveness, safety and reliability of practice recommendations. These characteristics are essential if we wish to bring new, research findings into practice.
Many in the field have identified possible hurdles to accomplishing this goal and some have identified that it is particularly challenging to bring findings into practice. Clinical rehabilitation research is, when compared to other specialties, low in volume and has relatively few intervention trials. Explanations for this include the fact that randomized trials often depend on large sample sizes, standardized interventions and objective measures. Rehabilitation research often depends upon small trials, where individual patient differences may be hard to control and hence limit standard “one-size-fits-all” treatments. Nonetheless, many practitioners rely on practice guidelines to initiate new treatments and guide them in the selection of outcome measures. This is especially true for cancer rehabilitation because it is a new sub-specialty, with few fellowship trained physiatrists and is an exceptionally fast-changing and complex field.
Two examples of existing CPGs for rehabilitation for patients with cancer (head and neck tumors) and recommendations for exercise, are presented to discuss content and utility for practice.
Understand cutting edge concepts in cancer rehabilitation
Review the evidence supporting cancer rehabilitation interventions
Assess the current state of knowledge translation for cancer rehabilitaiton, based on published clinical practice guidelines