Evaluation of two strategies to implement physical cancer rehabilitation guidelines for survivors of abdominopelvic cavity tumors: a controlled before-and-after study

Charlotte IJsbrandy*, Petronella B. Ottevanger, Winald R. Gerritsen, Wim H. van Harten, Rosella P.M.G. Hermens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: This study evaluates the effectiveness and feasibility of two strategies to implement physical cancer rehabilitation (PCR) guidelines for patients who have survived abdominopelvic cavity malignancies. Methods: We tested and compared two tailored strategies to implement PCR guidelines for survivors of gastrointestinal, female organ and urogenital organ malignancies, in a clustered controlled before-and-after study. A patient-directed (PD) strategy was tested in five cancer centers, aiming to empower survivors. A multifaceted (MF) strategy was tested in four cancer centers, aiming additionally to influence healthcare professionals and the healthcare organization. Data were collected from existing registration systems, patient questionnaires and professional questionnaires. We measured both implementation- and client outcomes. For insight into the effectiveness we measured indicators related to PCR guidelines: (1) screening with the Distress Thermometer (DT) (=primary outcome measure), (2) information provision concerning physical activity (PA) and physical cancer rehabilitation programs (PCRPs), (3) advice to take part in PA and PCRPs, (4) referral to PCRPs, (5) participation in PCRPs, (6) PA uptake (PAU); and patient reported outcomes (PROs) such as (7) quality of life, (8) fatigue, and (9) empowerment. Furthermore, survivor and center determinants were assessed as possible confounders. Multilevel analyses were performed to compare the scores of the indicators of the PD and MF strategies, as well as the differences between the characteristics of these groups. The use of and experiences with both strategies were measured using questionnaires and Google Analytics to assess feasibility. Results: In total, 1326 survivors participated in the study, 673 in the before- and 653 in the after-measurement. Regarding our primary outcome measure, we found a significant improvement of screening with the DT between the before- and after-measurement for both strategies, respectively from 34.2 to 43.1% (delta=8.9%; odds ratio (OR)=1.6706; p=0.0072) for the PD strategy and from 41.5 to 56.1% (delta=14.6%; OR=1.7098; p=0.0028) for the MF strategy. For both the primary and secondary outcomes, no statistically significant effect of the MF strategy compared to the PD strategy was observed. We found good use of and positive experiences with both strategies. Conclusion: Implementation strategies containing tools enhancing patient empowerment seem to be effective in increasing the systematic screening with the DT for survivors of abdominopelvic cavity malignancies. Further research is needed to assess the additional effectiveness of strategies that stimulate compliance among healthcare professionals and healthcare organizations. Implications for Cancer Survivors: Using implementation strategies containing tools enhancing patient empowerment seem to be effective in increasing the systematic screening with the DT and might improve the quality of care of patients who have survived abdominopelvic cavity malignancies.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of cancer survivorship
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print/First online - 14 Sep 2021

Keywords

  • Exercise
  • Guidelines
  • Health plan implementation
  • Neoplasm
  • Rehabilitation
  • Survivors

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