Turkish Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 2009 , Vol 55 , Num 1

Rehabilitation Needs of Patients with Cancer

Selin Taflan Selçuk 1 ,Meltem Aras 2 ,Sibel Ünsal Delialioğlu 3 ,Nilgün Atalay 4
1 Dr. Abdurrahman Yurtaslan Ankara Onkoloji Eğitim ve Araştırma Hastanesi, Ankara, Türkiye**Başkent Üniversitesi, Tıp Fakültesi, Kardiyoloji Anabilim Dalı, Ankara, Türkiye
2 Ankara Fizik Tedavi ve Rehabilitasyon Eğitim ve Araştırma Hastanesi, Ankara, Türkiye
3 Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Ankara Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Training and Research Hospital, Ankara, Turkey
4 Ankara Dr. Abdurrahman Yurtarslan Onkoloji Eğitim ve Araştırma Hastanesi, Ankara

Objective: To identify the rehabilitation needs and functional status of patients with various cancer diagnosis and to identify the lack of rehabilitation referralls. 

Materials and Methods: Three hundred patients at a state oncology hospital in Ankara, Turkey were included in this study. All patients (155 female, 145 male, mean age: 49.8±16.8, mean disease duration: 445.97±228.2 day) were evaluated for the presence of various rehabilitation needs such as fatigue, deconditioning, problems of activities of daily living, ambulation and transfer difficulties, pain, lymphedema, sexual dysfunction, bladder-bowel dysfunction and 
cognitive problems. Functional assessments were performed using Barthel Index (BI) and Karnofsky Performance Status Scale (KPSS).

Results: 81.7% (245/300) of the patients had various rehabilitation needs. The most frequent symptoms were fatigue, deconditioning, problems of daily living activities and pain. KPSS showed that 225 (75%) patients were able to carry on normal activities; no special care were needed, whereas 72 (24%) patients were unable to work; able to live at home and various amounts of assistance were needed for personal cares. Three (1%) patients were unable to care for self and required hospital care; disease were possibly progressing rapidly. BI assessments showed that 57% of the patients were independent in daily activities, 39.4% were mildly to moderately dependent and 3.6% were severely dependent or bed-bound. Only two patients were referred for rehabilitation consultation.

Conclusion: Patients with cancer have many unmet rehabilitation needs. Awareness of these needs should be increased and rehabilitation interventions be integrated to the comprehensive care of these patients. A strong administrative commitment and a strong communication with both medical and surgical oncology departments are needed. 

Keywords : Cancer, rehabilitatio