Clinical Guidelines


Development and implementation of evidence-based clinical guidelines is main focus of policy in health care around the world. Clinical guidelines are ‘systematically developed statements designed to help practitioners and patients to make decisions about appropriate health care for specific circumstances’ (Field and Lohr, 1992). In physiotherapy clinical guidelines are also considered important instruments. Evidence based practice and clinical guidelines are essential components of the policy of the World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT).

One of the goals of the European Region of WCPT is to create an up to date overview of guideline programs in physiotherapy within the European Region. To accomplish that goal, the Professional Issues WG of the European Region is currently collecting data on existing physiotherapy-specific and multi-disciplinary guideline programs in the European Region. The project will result in an overview of guideline programs, existing guidelines, and guidelines under development.

The overview will allow individual physiotherapists access to existing guidelines, and will therefore contribute to the implementation of guidelines. The overview will also allow Member Organisations in the European Region to collaborate in guideline development and/or to use and adjust existing guidelines for their own (national) situation.


The network of contacts within the European Region was used to create the overview. A first outline was created by the Professional Issues WG based on available information via websites and sent to contacts which are known for their involvement in physiotherapy-specific guideline development. The contact persons were asked to collaborate in three issues:
  1. To advise on refining the outline and structure of the overview (database).
  2. To provide data on the guideline program in their own country.
  3. To help identifying additional guideline programs in the European Region.
In addition to physiotherapy-specific guideline programs, the involvement of Member Organisations in multi-professional guideline development was explored. The contact persons were asked to provide information.


Table 1 shows an overview of physiotherapy-specific guideline programs based on an inventory using the network of Member Organisations known to have (plans for) a guideline program. It shows that three countries actually have physiotherapy-specific evidence-based guidelines in an own program and/or in collaboration with other guideline developers. Two countries have consensus-based national guidelines. The Nordic countries have plans to establish a guideline program and are collaborating in establishing this program.

Multi-disciplinary guidelines are common in many countries within the European Region. The results of the inventory are shown in table 2. To create a complete overview, more collection of data is necessary. This could be done using a questionnaire.

Data base on Clinical Guideline development programmes in the European Region of WCPT 2010

Data base on Clinical Guideline development programmes in the European Region of WCPT 2012

Report on the activities undertaken on Clinical Guidelines (2010 – 2012) and working plan (2012 -2014)