The Feasibility and Effects of a Telehealth-Delivered Home-Based Prehabilitation Program for Cancer Patients during the Pandemic

Curr Oncol. 2021 Jun 17;28(3):2248-2259. doi: 10.3390/curroncol28030207.


Patients awaiting cancer treatment were classified as "vulnerable" and advised to shield to protect themselves from exposure to coronavirus during the pandemic. These measures can negatively impact patients. We sought to establish the feasibility and effects of a telehealth-delivered home-based prehabilitation program during the pandemic. Eligible patients were referred from multiple centers to a regional prehabilitation unit providing home-based prehabilitation. The enrolled patients received telehealth-delivered prehabilitation prior to surgery and/or during non-surgical cancer treatment, which included personalized training exercises, dietary advice, medical optimization therapies, and psychological support. The primary outcome was to investigate the feasibility of our program. The secondary outcome was to investigate the relationship between our program and patient-reported outcomes (PROs). The patients completed two questionnaires (the EQ-5D-3L and the FACIT-Fatigue Scale) pre- and post-intervention. A total of 182 patients were referred during the study period. Among the 139 (76%) patients that were enrolled, 100 patients completed the program, 24 patients have still to complete, and 15 have discontinued. A total of 66 patients were able to return completed questionnaires. These patients were recruited from colorectal, urology, breast, and cardiothoracic centers. The patients significantly improved their self-perceived health (p = 0.001), and fatigue (p = 0.000). Home-based prehabilitation is a feasible intervention. The PROs improved post-intervention.

Keywords: cancer care; deconditioning; exercise oncology; pandemic; prehabilitation; shielding; surgical oncology.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • COVID-19 / epidemiology*
  • England
  • Exercise
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / psychology
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Precision Medicine / methods
  • Preoperative Care
  • Preoperative Exercise
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life
  • Telemedicine / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome

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