Caregiver-Provided Physical Therapy Home Programs for Children with Motor Delay: A Scoping Review

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Caregiver-provided physical therapy home programs (PTHP) play an important role in enhancing motor outcomes in pediatric patient populations.


This scoping review systematically mapped clinical trials of caregiver-provided PTHP that were aimed at enhancing motor outcomes in children who have or who are at risk for motor delay, with the purpose of (1) describing trial characteristics; (2) assessing methodologic quality; and (3) examining the reporting of caregiver-related components.

Data Sources.

Physiotherapy Evidence Database (PEDro), Cochrane CENTRAL, PubMed, Scopus, ScienceDirect, ProQuest Central, CINAHL, LILACS, and OTseeker were searched up to July 31, 2017.

Study Selection.

Two reviewers independently assessed study eligibility. Randomized or quasi-randomized controlled trials on PTHP administered by parents, other family members, friends, or informal caregivers to children who had or who were at risk for motor delay were included.

Data Extraction.

Two reviewers independently appraised trial quality on the PEDro scale and extracted data.

Data Synthesis.

Twenty-four articles representing 17 individual trials were identified. Populations and interventions investigated were heterogeneous. Most of the trials had important research design limitations and methodological issues that could limit usefulness in ascertaining the effectiveness of caregiver-provided PTHP. Few (4 of 17) trials indicated involvement of caregivers in the PTHP planning, assessed how the caregivers learned from the training or instructions provided, or carried out both.


Included studies were heterogeneous, and unpublished data were excluded.


Although caregiver-provided PTHP are important in addressing motor outcomes in this population, there is a lack of evidence at the level of clinical trials to guide practice. More research is urgently needed to determine the effectiveness of care-giver-provided PTHP. Future studies should address the many important issues identified in this scoping review to improve the usefulness of the trial results.

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