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A new model of early, integrated palliative care: palliative rehabilitation for newly diagnosed patients with non-resectable cancer

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PURPOSE: The aim of this paper is to describe a model of palliative rehabilitation for newly diagnosed advanced cancer patients and present data on how it was utilised during a randomised controlled trial (RCT).

METHODS: We designed a highly flexible, multidisciplinary model of palliative rehabilitation consisting of a "basic offer" and tailored elements. The model was evaluated in the setting on an RCT investigating the effect of systematic referral to a palliative rehabilitation clinic concurrently with standard oncology treatment or standard treatment alone. The basic offer of palliative rehabilitation was two consultations and a 12-week possibility of contacting a palliative rehabilitation team, if needed. In addition, patients and family caregivers could be offered participation in a 12-week patient/caregiver school combined with individually tailored physical exercise in groups, individual consultations, or both. Contacts with the palliative rehabilitation team and participant evaluation were registered prospectively.

RESULTS: Between December 2014 and December 2017, 132 adults with newly diagnosed advanced cancer were seen in the palliative rehabilitation outpatient clinic. Twenty percent of the participants received the basic offer only (n = 26), 45% additionally participated in the group program (n = 59), and 35% received supplementary individual consultations without participating in the group program (n = 47). The intervention was primarily led by nurses, and the main themes of the individual consultations were coping, pain, and nutrition. When asked if they would recommend the intervention to others in the same situation, 93% of the respondents agreed, 7% partly agreed, and no one disagreed.

CONCLUSION: The new model of palliative rehabilitation presented here had a flexibility to meet the needs of the participants and led to a very high degree of patient satisfaction. It could serve as an inspiration to other cancer centres wanting to integrate palliative care into standard oncology services.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSupportive care in cancer : official journal of the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)3291-3300
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2019

    Research areas

  • Models of care, Neoplasms, Palliative care, Patient satisfaction, Quality of life, Rehabilitation

ID: 57656482