Cognitive rehabilitation following traumatic brain injury can aid in optimizing function, independence, and quality of life by addressing impairments in attention, executive function, cognitive communication, and memory. This study aimed to identify and evaluate the methodological quality of clinical practice guidelines for cognitive rehabilitation following traumatic brain injury.
Systematic searching of databases and Web sites was undertaken between January and March 2012 to identify freely available, English language clinical practice guidelines from 2002 onward. Eligible guidelines were evaluated using the validated Appraisal of Guidelines for Research and Evaluation II instrument.
The 11 guidelines that met inclusion criteria were independently rated by 4 raters. Results of quality appraisal indicated that guidelines generally employed systematic search and appraisal methods and produced unambiguous, clearly identifiable recommendations. Conversely, only 1 guideline incorporated implementation and audit information, and there was poor reporting of processes for formulating, reviewing, and ensuring currency of recommendations and incorporating patient preferences. Intraclass correlation coefficients for agreement between raters showed high agreement (intraclass correlation coefficient > 0.80) for all guidelines except for 1 (moderate agreement; intraclass correlation coefficient = 0.76).
Future guidelines should address identified limitations by providing implementation information and audit criteria, along with better reporting of guideline development processes and stakeholder engagement.