One of the greatest misconceptions of evidence-informed or evidence-based practice is the idea that it does not value clinical experience or clinical expertise. The physiotherapy management of COVID-19 patients is a perfect example of a situation when our clinical decisions can not rely solely on research evidence because the evidence does not exist yet.
But what do we do when we have limited evidence?
The clinical guidance recommendations for the physiotherapy management for COVID-19 in the acute hospital setting is an excellent example of how we, as physiotherapists, must approach clinical problems in the absence of research evidence. Dr. Thomas and his team of experts worked together to create this document by drawing on:
- the best and most relevant evidence we have available
- sound physiological reasoning
- input from clinical experts in the field and
- guidance on management strategies used in countries around the world
Physiotherapists around the globe are currently using their clinical judgement and knowledge, guidance from our peers, like Dr. Thomas and his team, while recognizing the needs and values of our patients. In the absence of clinical trials and systematic reviews, we can be confident in our training as evidence-informed physiotherapists.
Rachael Moses and Dr. Bernie Bissett do an excellent job of describing how clinical guidance recommendations can be developed in the absence of evidence explicitly addressing COVID-19. You can watch their insightful conversation here: