Rehabilitation in Acute Care

Rehabilitation in acute care

Research theme

Rehabilitation in Acute Care: understanding and improving daily functioning in acute care patients. The overall aim is to develop and implement evidence based rehabilitation interventions for patients during and after hospitalization.  

Patient research groups

  • critically ill patients during and after intensive care stay
  • patients undergoing complex (thoracic/abdominal/cardiac) surgery
  • hospitalized (older) patients

Mission of the research, and the focus of attention

The misson of our research is to prevent functional decline and improve daily functioning in critically ill and hospitalized patients.

Our research focusses on understanding the consequences of critical illness and hospitalization, and to develop and implement evidence based rehabilitation interventions to improve daily functioning and participation in society. Examples of our research projects are:

  • Intensive care:  the development and implementation of a guideline for physiotherapy in the ICU and after hospital discharge, development and evaluation of a treadmill for the use in the ICU, research on exercise dose-response relationship and describing consequences of critical illness on long-term functioning.
  • Thoracic and abdominal surgery: description of the course of physical functioning in patients with esophageal cancer undergoing esophagectomy, development and implementation of an exercise programme.
  • Older patients:  Unraveling the consequences of acute hospitalization on daily functioning, development and implementation of an integral rehabilitation home-based programme for acutely admitted older patients and patients with cardiovascular disease and comorbidity.
  • Hospitalized patients: improving physical activity during hospitalization.

Our research has a strong inter-disciplinary focus, involving all stakeholders relevant to functioning in patients during and after hospitalization. This includes, among others, patient representatives, medical specialists, allied health professionals in hospitals and community, nursing, human movement scientists, the Dutch associations of health professionals.

Research institutes, (important) partners in research

  • Amsterdam Movement Sciences: Restoration and development
  • University of Applied Sciences (HvA) Amsterdam
  • Amsterdam Public Health: Aging & Later Life

Researchers, PI

PI: Dr. Marike van der Schaaf

Senior researchers:

  • Prof. dr Raoul H.H. Engelbert
  • Dr. Daniela S. Dettling
  • Dr. Eric L. Voorn

Senior clinicians / researchers: Dr Herman Holtslag


Junior researchers / PhD students: Juultje Sommers, Robin C. Kwakman, I. van Beusekom, Mel E. Major, Maarten A. van Egmond, Jesse J. Aarden. Michel Terbraak, Sven. J. Geelen, E. Klooster.

Five most important publications

van Seben R, Reichardt LA, Aarden JJ, van der Schaaf M, van der Esch M, Engelbert RHH, Twisk JWR, Bosch JA, Buurman BM; Hospital-ADL Study Group.The Course of Geriatric Syndromes in Acutely Hospitalized Older Adults: The Hospital-ADL Study  JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL DIRECTORS ASSOCIATION , 2018 (IF 5.325)

van Egmond MA, van der Schaaf M, Vredeveld t Vollenbroek-Hutten MRR van Berge Henegouwen MI Klinkenbijl JHG, Engelbert RHH  Effectiveness of physiotherapy with telerehabilitation in surgical patients: a systematic review and meta-analysis  PHYSIOTHERAPY 104 (3), 2018, p.277-298  (IF 3.120)

Major ME, Kwakman R, Kho ME, Connolly B, McWilliams D, Denehy L, Hanekom S, Patman S, Gosselink R, Jones C, Nollet F, Needham DM, Engelbert RH, van der Schaaf M  Surviving critical illness: what is next? An expert consensus statement on physical rehabilitation after hospital discharge  CRITICAL CARE 20 (1), 2016, p.354- (IF 5.358)

Wieske L, Dettling-Ihnenfeldt DS, Verhamme C, Nollet F, van Schaik IN, Schultz MJ, Horn J, van der Schaaf M. Impact of ICU-acquired weakness on post-ICU physical functioning: a follow-up study  CRITICAL CARE 19 (1), 2015, p.196-  (IF 4.950)

Sommers J, Engelbert RHH,Dettling-Ihnenfeldt D, Gosselink R, Spronk PE, Nollet F, van der Schaaf M  Physiotherapy in the intensive care unit: an evidence-based, expert driven, practical statement and rehabilitation recommendations  CLINICAL REHABILITATION 29 (11), 2015, p.1051-1063  (IF 2.403) 


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