Rehabilitation of Advanced Cancer Patients in Palliative Care Unit

The objective of this study was to evaluate the compliance and satisfaction of rehabilitation recommendations for advanced cancer patients hospitalized in the palliative care unit.

Advanced cancer patients admitted to a hospice palliative care unit were recruited. Patients with advanced cancer and a life expectancy of less than 6 months, as assumed by the oncologist were included. Patients who were expected to die within 3 days were excluded. ECOG and Karnofsky performance scales, function ambulatory category, level of ambulation, and survival days were evaluated under the perspective of comprehensive rehabilitation. Problem-based rehabilitations were provided categorized as physical therapy at the gym, bedside physical therapy, physical modalities, medications and pain intervention. Investigation of compliance for each category was completed. Patient satisfaction was surveyed using a questionnaire.

Forty-five patients were recruited and received evaluations for rehabilitation perspective. The subjects were reported to have gait-related difficulties (71.1%), pain (68.9%), poor medical conditions (68.9%), bladder or bowel problems (44.4%), dysphagias (11.1%), mental status issues (11.1%), edemas (11.1%), spasticity (2.2%), and pressure sores (2.2%). In the t-test, patients with good compliance for GymPT showed higher survival days (p<0.05). In the satisfaction survey, patients with performance scales showed a greater satisfaction in Spearman’s correlation analysis (p<0.05).

Advanced cancer patients admitted to the hospice palliative care unit have many rehabilitation needs. Patients with a longer survival time showed better compliance for GymPT. Patients with a better performance scale showed a higher satisfaction. Comprehensive rehabilitation may be needed to advanced cancer patients in the hospice palliative care unit.