A National Health Service Quality Improvement Scotland (NHS QIS) scoping exercise in 2007 identified the use of ankle-foot orthoses (AFOs) following stroke as a clinical improvement priority, leading to the development of a best practice statement (BPS) on AFO use after stroke. This paper outlines the development process of the BPS which is available from NHS QIS. The authors were involved in the development of the BPS as part of a working group that included practitioners from the fields of orthotics, physiotherapy, stroke nursing and bioengineering, and staff of NHS QIS and a patient representative. In consultation with an NHS QIS health services researcher, the authors undertook a systematic literature review to evidence where possible the recommendations made in the BPS. Where evidence was unavailable, consensus was reached by the expert working group. As the BPS was designed for the non-specialist and non-orthotic practitioner the authors also developed educational resources which were included within the BPS to aid the understanding of the principles underpinning orthotic design and prescription. The BPS has been widely distributed throughout the health service in Scotland and is available electronically at no cost via the NHS QIS website. At part of an ongoing evaluation of the impact of the BPS on the quality of orthotic provision, NHS QIS has invited feedback regarding successes and challenges to implementation.
- ankle-foot orthoses