Large Improvements in Health-Related Quality of Life and Physical Fitness during Multidisciplinary Inpatient Rehabilitation for Pediatric Cancer Survivors

Cancers (Basel). 2022 Oct 4;14(19):4855. doi: 10.3390/cancers14194855.


Rehabilitation is a key element in improving health-related quality of life (HRQOL) for pediatric cancer survivors. The aim of this study was to present data from a multidisciplinary inpatient rehabilitation treatment. Children took part in a four-week multidisciplinary family-oriented inpatient rehabilitation. A total of 236 children (>5−21 years) and 478 parents routinely completed electronic patient-reported outcomes (ePROs), performance-based assessments, and clinician-rated assessments before (T1) and at the end (T2) of rehabilitation. HRQOL was assessed with the PedsQL generic core and PedsQL cancer module. Data were analyzed using repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA). Statistically significant improvements with medium to large effect sizes were observed for most HRQOL scales (η2 = 0.09−0.31), as well as performance-based and clinician-rated assessments for physical activity and functional status (η2 > 0.28). Agreement between children’s PROs and parents’ proxy ratings was lower before (rICC = 0.72) than after (rICC = 0.86) rehabilitation. While the concordance between children and parents’ assessment of changes during rehab was low to moderate (r = 0.19−0.59), the use of the performance score led to substantially increased scores (r = 0.29−0.68). The results of this naturalistic observational study thus highlight the benefits of multidisciplinary pediatric inpatient rehabilitation for childhood cancer survivors. The use of the performance score is recommended in this field.

Keywords: HRQOL; observational study; pediatric cancer; pediatric rehabilitation; performance score.

Grants and funding

No funding was available. The costs of this investigator-initiated study were covered by the rehabilitation center at Sankt Veit im Pongau.