You are not logged in. Press here to login.


List volumes - List articles in this issue

Special report

Multidisciplinary team care in rehabilitation: An overview of reviews

doi: 10.2340/16501977-1040

Open access


OBJECTIVES: To systematically investigate current scientific evidence about the effectiveness of multidisciplinary team rehabilitation for different health problems.
DATA SOURCES: A comprehensive literature search was conducted in Cochrane, Medline, DARE, Embase, and Cinahl databases, and research from existing systematic reviews was critically appraised and summarized.
STUDY SELECTION: Using the search terms “rehabilitation”, “multidisciplinary teams” or “team care”, references were identified for existing studies published after 2000 that examined multidisciplinary rehabilitation team care for adults, without restrictions in terms of study population or outcomes. The most recent reviews examining a study population were selected.
DATA EXTRACTION: Two reviewers independently extracted information about study populations, sample sizes, study designs, rehabilitation settings, the team, interventions, and findings.
DATA SYNTHESIS: A total of 14 reviews were included to summarize the findings of 12 different study populations. Evidence was found to support improved functioning following multidisciplinary rehabilitation team care for 10 of 12 different study population: elderly people, elderly people with hip fracture, homeless people with mental illness, adults with multiple sclerosis, stroke, aquired brain injury, chronic arthropathy, chronic pain, low back pain, and fibromyalgia. Whereas evidence was not found for adults with amyetrophic lateral schlerosis, and neck and shoulder pain.
CONCLUSION: Although these studies included heterogeneous patient groups the overall conclusion was that multidisciplinary rehabilitation team care effectively improves rehabilitation intervention. However, further research in this area is needed.


Anne-Mette Momsen, Jens Ole Rasmussen, Claus Vinther Nielsen, Maura Daly Iversen, Hans Lund
MarselisborgCentret, Public Health and Quality Improvement, Central Denmark Region, 8000 Aarhus, Denmark


1. Danish Health and Medicines Authorities. [According to the 2006 Danish Health Act, the responsibility for the rehabilitation of patients was shifted towards the local authorities in the municipalities.] Available from: (in Danish).

2. Marselisborg Centret. [Rehabilitation in Denmark: The white paper of the rehabilitation concept.] Århus: Marselisborgcentret; 2004 (in Danish).

3. Gutenbrunner C, Ward AB, Chamberlain MA, Bardot A, Barat M, Bensoussan L, et al. White Book on Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine in Europe. J Rehabil Med 2007; 39 suppl 45: 1–48.

4. International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF). 2001. Available from:

5. Schiøler G, Dahl T. [International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health.] Munksgaard: Danmark; 2003 (in Danish).

6. Wagner EH. The role of patient care teams in chronic disease management. BMJ 2000; 320: 569–572.

7. Sander AM, Constantinidou F. The interdisciplinary team. J Head Trauma Rehabil 2008; 23: 271–272.

8. Vliet Vlieland TP, Hazes JM. Efficacy of multidisciplinary team care programs in rheumatoid arthritis. Semin Arthritis Rheum 1997; 27: 110–122.

9. Wade DT. Describing rehabilitation interventions. Clin Rehabil 2005; 19: 811–818.

10. Neumann V, Gutenbrunner C, Fialka-Moser V, Christodoulou N, Varela E, Giustini A, et al. Interdisciplinary team working in physical and rehabilitation medicine. J Rehabil Med 2010; 42: 4–8.

11. Becker LA, Oxman AD. Chapter 22: Overviews of reviews. 2011. Chap 22, part 3. Available from:

12. Oxman AD. Checklists for review articles. BMJ 1994; 309: 648–651.

13. Shea B, Boers M, Grimshaw JM, Hamel C, Bouter LM. Does updating improve the methodological and reporting quality of systematic reviews? BMC Med Res Methodol 2006; 6: 27.

14. Johansson G, Eklund K, Gosman-Hedstrom G. Multidisciplinary team, working with elderly persons living in the community: a systematic literature review. Scand J Occup Ther 2010; 17: 101–116.

15. Stuck AE, Egger M, Hammer A, Minder CE, Beck JC. Home visits to prevent nursing home admission and functional decline in elderly people: systematic review and meta-regression analysis. JAMA 2002; 287: 1022–1028.

16. Chudyk AM, Jutai JW, Petrella RJ, Speechley M. Systematic review of hip fracture rehabilitation practices in the elderly1. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2009; 90: 246–262.

17. Handoll HH, Cameron ID, Mak JC, Finnegan TP. Multidisciplinary rehabilitation for older people with hip fractures. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2009; (4): CD007125.

18. Khan F, Ng L, Gonzalez S, Hale T, Turner-Stokes L. Multidisciplinary rehabilitation programmes following joint replacement at the hip and knee in chronic arthropathy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2008; (2): CD004957.

19. Vliet Vlieland TP. Multidisciplinary team care and outcomes in rheumatoid arthritis. Curr Opin Rheumatol 2004; 16: 153–156.

20. Therapy-based rehabilitation services for stroke patients at home. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2003; (1): CD002925.

21. Organised inpatient (stroke unit) care for stroke Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2007; (4): CD000197.

22. Scascighini L, Toma V, Dober-Spielmann S, Sprott H. Multidisciplinary treatment for chronic pain: a systematic review of interventions and outcomes. Rheumatology (Oxford) 2008; 47: 670–678.

23. Burckhardt CS. Multidisciplinary approaches for management of fibromyalgia. Curr Pharm Des 2006; 12: 59–66.

24. Karjalainen K, Malmivaara A, van TM, Roine R, Jauhiainen M, Hurri H, et al. Multidisciplinary biopsychosocial rehabilitation for subacute low back pain among working age adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2003; (2): CD002193.

25. Norlund A, Ropponen A, Alexanderson K. Multidisciplinary interventions: review of studies of return to work after rehabilitation for low back pain. J Rehabil Med 2009; 41: 115–121.

26. van Geen JW, Edelaar MJ, Janssen M, van Eijk JT. The long-term effect of multidisciplinary back training: a systematic review. Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 2007; 32: 249–255.

27. Langhorne P, Bernhardt J, Kwakkel G. Stroke rehabilitation. Lancet 2011; 377: 1693–1702.

28. Khan F, Turner-Stokes L, Ng L, Kilpatrick T. Multidisciplinary rehabilitation for adults with multiple sclerosis Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2007; (2): CD006036.

29. Ng L, Khan F, Mathers S. Multidisciplinary care for adults with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or motor neuron disease. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2009; (4): CD007425.

30. Turner-Stokes L, Disler PB, Nair A, Wade DT. Multi-disciplinary rehabilitation for acquired brain injury in adults of working age. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2005; (3): CD004170.

31. Karjalainen K, Malmivaara A, van TM, Roine R, Jauhiainen M, Hurri H, et al. Multidisciplinary biopsychosocial rehabilitation for neck and shoulder pain among working age adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2003; (2): CD002194.

32. Coldwell CM, Bender WS. The effectiveness of assertive community treatment for homeless populations with severe mental illness: a meta-analysis. Am J Psychiatry 2007; 164: 393–399.

33. Paniak C, Toller-Lobe G, Durand A, Nagy J. A randomized trial of two treatments for mild traumatic brain injury. Brain Inj 1998; 12: 1011–1023.

34. Gowans SE, deHueck A, Voss S, Richardson M. A randomized, controlled trial of exercise and education for individuals with fibromyalgia. Arthritis Care Res 1999; 12: 120–128.

35. Wade D. Investigating the effectiveness of rehabilitation professions – a misguided enterprise? Clin Rehabil 2005; 19: 1–3.

36. von Groote PM, Bickenbach JE, Gutenbrunner C. The World Report on Disability – implications, perspectives and opportunities for physical and rehabilitation medicine (PRM). J Rehabil Med 2011; 43: 869–875.

37. Reinhardt JD, Hofer P, Arenz S, Stucki G. Organizing human functioning and rehabilitation research into distinct scientific fields. Part III: Scientific journals. J Rehabil Med 2007; 39: 308–322.

38. Stucki G, Reinhardt JD, Grimby G, Melvin J. Developing “Human functioning and rehabilitation research” from the comprehensive perspective. J Rehabil Med 2007; 39: 665–671.

39. Graham S, Cameron I. Towards a unifying theory of rehabilitation. J Rehabil Med 2011; 43: 76–77.

40. Boutron I, Moher D, Altman DG, Schulz KF, Ravaud P. Extending the CONSORT statement to randomized trials of nonpharmacologic treatment: explanation and elaboration. Ann Intern Med 2008; 148: 295–309.

41. Cerniauskaite M, Quintas R, Boldt C, Raggi A, Cieza A, Bickenbach JE, et al. Systematic literature review on ICF from 2001 to 2009: its use, implementation and operationalisation. Disabil Rehabil 2011; 33: 281–309.

Related articles

There are no related articles.



Full text



Appendix SI

Related articles

Click here to show related articles

Print information

Volume 44, Issue 11

DOI: 10.2340/16501977-1040

Pages: 901-912

View at PubMed