Feasibility and effectiveness of home-based therapy programmes for children with cerebral palsy: a systematic review

Laura W. M. E. Beckers, Mellanie M. E. Geijen*, Jos Kleijnen, Eugene Rameckers, Marlous Schnackers, Rob Smeets, Yvonne J. M. Janssen-Potten

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal(Systematic) Review article peer-review


Objective To assess the feasibility and effectiveness of home-based occupational therapy and physiotherapy programmes in children with cerebral palsy (CP), focusing on the upper extremity and reporting on child-related and/or parent-related outcomes. Design Systematic review. Data sources Electronic searches were performed in MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, PsycINFO, OTseeker and PEDro, and in ICTRP and CENTRAL trial registers, from inception to 6 June 2019. Eligible criteria The review included all types of original studies concerning feasibility or effectiveness of home-based therapy in children aged <18 years with any type of CP. No language, publication status or publication date restrictions were applied. Data extraction and synthesis Study and intervention characteristics and the demographics of participating children and their parents were extracted. Feasibility was assessed by outcomes related to acceptability, demand, implementation, practicality, adaptation, expansion or integration. Regarding effectiveness, child-related outcome measures related to any level of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health, or parent-related outcomes were investigated. Two authors independently extracted the data. Risk of bias was assessed using the Downs and Black checklist and the Joanna Briggs Institute Critical Appraisal Checklist. Results The search resulted in a total of 92 records: 61 studies and 31 conference abstracts. Feasibility studies reported mainly on acceptability and implementation. Overall compliance to home-based training programmes (implementation) was moderate to high, ranging from 56% to 99%. In the effectiveness studies, >40 different child-related outcome measures were found. Overall, an improvement in arm-hand performance within group across time was shown. Only two studies reported on a parent-related outcome measure. No increase in parental stress was found during the intervention. Conclusions Based on the results of the included studies, home-based training programmes seem to be feasible. However, conclusions about the effectiveness of home programmes cannot be made due to the large variability in the study, patient and intervention characteristics, comparators, and outcome measures used in the included studies.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere035454
Number of pages52
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 6 Oct 2020


  • rehabilitation medicine
  • paediatrics
  • therapeutics


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