Rehabilitation needs in oncological patients: the On-rehab project results on patients operated for musculoskeletal tumors

Maria G Benedetti, Silayan Erfe Delayon, Marco Colangeli, Federica Parisini, Stefano Ferrari, Marco Manfrini, Isabella Springhetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Rehabilitation plays an important role in improving functional outcome in patients operated on musculoskeletal tumors. Literature in the field is scarce and the specific needs for rehabilitation of these patients are still unknown.

AIM: To analyze the rehabilitation needs of patients with primary malignant musculoskeletal tumors.

DESIGN: Observational, longitudinal study on both inpatient and outpatient operated on musculoskeletal tumors.

METHODS: Rehabilitation needs of oncological patients were explored by means of questionnaires administered by a physician. Demographic, oncological, psychological domains were also assessed.

RESULTS: Twenty-nine patients were evaluated in the immediate post-operative period, 25 patients had a follow up at 6 months, and 11 patients at 12 months. Rehabilitation needs concerned essentially the neuromotor function and the improvement of independence at home/outside home. At first admission, support for occupational rehabilitation was also relevant, while its importance was reduced over the follow-up. Pain control need was greater at first admission (VAS over the follow-up 3.3, 0.52, and 1.09, respectively) and required treatment with painkillers. Quality of life (EORTC) increased over the three assessments (respectively 48.80; 71.42; 82.14). The Psychological Distress Inventory (PDI) scores were 26.23, 21.75, 23.6, and the Caregiver Needs Assessment (CNA) scores were 32.69, 27.95, and 31.7 respectively at the three follow up.

CONCLUSIONS: The relevant domains in which rehabilitation needs emerged in up to 1 year follow up were the neuromotor area in order to gain independence at home and outside the home, pain control, particularly after surgery, nursing, psychological support of patients and caregivers, and occupational activities (personal, work, school, social).

CLINICAL REHABILITATION IMPACT: The findings of the present study suggest that: short and midterm clinical rehabilitation programs should be made available for patients operated on musculoskeletal tumors. Physical function recovery is only one aspect of rehabilitation, and psychosocial functioning must be taken into account and coordinated by a comprehensive team of specialists. Appropriate assessment tools should be used, and a continuum of care from the hospital to the patient's home should be promoted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-90
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017


  • Journal Article


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