Feasibility and Implementation of an Oncology Rehabilitation Triage Clinic: Assessing Rehabilitation, Exercise Need, and Triage Pathways within the Alberta Cancer Exercise-Neuro-Oncology Study

Curr Oncol. 2023 Jun 28;30(7):6220-6245. doi: 10.3390/curroncol30070461.


Individuals living with and beyond cancer face physical impairment and inactivity in survivorship. Neuro-oncology populations have especially high rates of sedentary behaviour and functional deficits, including impaired balance, motor skills, and cognition. Our purpose was to assess the rehabilitation and exercise needs of patients with brain tumours while examining the feasibility of a rehabilitation triage clinic as a part of the Alberta Cancer Exercise-Neuro-Oncology study, where patients were referred to a triage clinic, where health, neurologic, and functional status was assessed, followed by a referral to one or multiple resources, including exercise, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, or physiatry. Qualitative perception of the triage clinic was collected. Overall, the triage clinic was feasible and safe for participants, facilitating referral into rehabilitation and exercise resources. Pre-determined enrollment and attendance rates were met, but referral rates to the triage clinic were not met. Oncology clinic staff reported forgetting to refer patients or uncertainty of who was appropriate for rehabilitation as barriers. Oncology clinic-based screening may improve the identification of patients who are sedentary or have a physical impairment. A proposed screening tool, the Cancer Rehabilitation and Exercise Screening Tool (CREST), is presented within our Cancer Rehabilitation and Exercise Pathways Model. The CREST can identify patients who are sedentary or have a functional impairment, facilitating referral to appropriate rehabilitation resources and ultimately improving patient recovery and functioning.

Keywords: brain tumour; cancer rehabilitation; exercise; feasibility; screening for impairment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alberta
  • Brain Neoplasms*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Humans
  • Medical Oncology
  • Triage*

Grants and funding

This project was supported by the Alberta Cancer Foundation (Grant number: 26047) under the Principal Investigator, Nicole Culos-Reed.