Part of supportive care for patients living with cancer includes access to tailored and comprehensive rehabilitation services. This project developed and implemented a cancer education and rehabilitation program for cancer patients in a sub-regional centre in Victoria by creating a cancer-specific model within the existing generalist allied health and nursing service.
The project involved design and pilot delivery of the new service based on evidence. This included introducing new processes and validated materials, and staff training. The program itself includes delivery of a 2-hour community information session. The education outlined the importance of exercise in the treatment phase and beyond, cancer relevant restorative care and allied health services in the local district.
Patients were then offered a 10 week oncology rehabilitation program. They underwent a standardised pre and post assessment of their physical ability and quality of life (FACT-G). The program was reviewed by the physiotherapy department (for feasibility and efficacy) and formally documented for standardised implementation.
19 community members attended the information session. All indicated a gain in knowledge. 100% planned on accessing other services after the session. 7 showed interest in attending the oncology rehabilitation program. 12 clients participated in the 10 week program (commencing March 2017). Compliance with the program was high throughout the 10 weeks, on average the program brought positive results for both the physical and quality of life outcome measures. The physiotherapy department will adopt the program using a Tier 2 funding stream.