Article Title

Effectiveness of community-based rehabilitation (CBR) centres for improving physical fitness for community-dwelling older adults: a systematic review protocol



The increasing ageing population has become a substantial challenge for both healthcare and social services in many Asian countries. There is a high incidence of chronic diseases and comorbidities in older populations, leading to impairments and functional disability. Functional disability may result in loss of independence, reduced quality of life and increased care needs. Community-based rehabilitation (CBR) provides rehabilitation to improve physical, mental and social outcomes. However, there is limited evidence regarding the effectiveness of CBR for improving older adults’ physical fitness. The aim of this systematic review is to synthesise the evidence for the effectiveness of interventions delivered by CBR centres on physical fitness of community-dwelling older adults in Asian countries.

Methods and analysis

A search on four English databases (CINAHL, Medline, Scopus and Proquest) and two Chinese databases (China National Knowledge Internet and Wanfang Database) will be conducted from inception to 15 November 2021. Both English and Chinese publications will be included. Studies conducted in Asian countries using either experimental or quasi-experimental designs, with any type of control group, will be included. The primary outcomes are physical fitness (capacity to perform activities and tasks). Secondary outcomes are performance of activities of daily living and health-related quality of life. The quality of all included studies will be assessed using the Joanna Briggs Institute standardised critical appraisal tools. Two reviewers will independently complete study screening, selection, quality appraisal and data extraction. Quantitative data where possible will be pooled in statistical meta-analysis. All statistical analyses will be performed using Review Manager (Rev Man) V.5.3 software.

Ethics and dissemination

Ethical approval is not required for this review. Findings of the review will be disseminated electronically through a peer-reviewed publication and conference presentations. This review will provide high-quality evidence for CBR in Asian countries with growing ageing populations. Clinical and research recommendations will provide guidance for policy makers and clinical programmes in Asian healthcare systems. Findings will also inform healthcare systems in other countries that use CBR.

PROSPERO registration number: CRD42021292088.


Community-based rehabilitation, Older adults, Physical health, Physical mental and social outcomes, Functional disability prevention

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