Why rehabilitation must have priority during and after the COVID-19-pandemic: A position statement of the global rehabilitation alliance
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COVID-19 has become a pandemic with strong influence on health systems. In many cases it leads to a disruption of rehabilitation service provision. On the other hand, rehabilitation must be an integral part of COVID-19 management. Rehabilitation for COVID-19 should start from acute and early postacute care and needs to be continued in the postacute and long-term rehabilitation phase. Of course, it should follow specific safety protocol. Additionally, rehabilitation must be kept available for all other people who are in need. From the perspective of health system, the Global Rehabilitation Alliance urges decision makers to ensure that rehabilitation services will be available for all patients with COVID-19 in the acute, post-acute and long-term phase. Additionally, it must be ensured that all other persons with rehabilitation need have access to rehabilitation services. Rehabilitation services must be equipped with personal protection equipment and follow strict hygiene measures. In particular, rehabilitation must be accessible for vulnerable populations. For that reason, rehabilitation must be kept a health priority during the COVID-19 pandemic and given adequate financial resources. Last but not least, scientific studies should be performed to clarify the impact of the pandemic on rehabilitation services as well as on the needs for rehabilitation of COVID-19 patients. 2020 Foundation of Rehabilitation Information.