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Support Care Cancer. 2013 Jun;21(6):1519-24. doi: 10.1007/s00520-012-1687-1. Epub 2012 Dec 27.

Occupational therapy needs of patients with thoracic cancer at the time of diagnosis: findings of a dedicated rehabilitation service.

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  • 1Department of Occupational Therapy, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, City Campus, Nottingham, NG5 1PB, UK.



Guidelines recommend screening patients with cancer to identify their rehabilitation needs. To help quantify this area of need and associated workload from an occupational therapy perspective in patients with thoracic cancer, we report the experiences of a dedicated rehabilitation service.


Consecutive patients were screened soon after diagnosis using items associated with occupational performance in the Sheffield Profile for Assessment and Referral for Care questionnaire. Those reporting predetermined levels of distress underwent a full occupational therapy evaluation; this generated a problem list from which individualised goals and interventions were instigated.


Of 540 patients screened, 273 (51 %) reported levels of distress which warranted a full occupational therapy assessment. Of these, 260 (95%) reported a total of 681 problems (median of 4 [2-5] per patient). Mostly these lay within the domain of self care (553, 78%) in the categories of transfers, functional mobility and bathing/showering. A total of 646 goals (median of 2 [1-3] per patient) were formulated, resulting in 652 individual interventions, most frequently the provision of equipment (79%) or advice (32%) and referral to another professional/agency (23%). Patients considered that most goals were achieved (98%) and that the provision of equipment was useful (97%).


About half of patients with thoracic cancer screened have occupational therapy needs around the time of diagnosis. Problems are mostly in the area of self-care, with equipment provision the most frequent intervention provided. Future work should examine the efficacy of occupational therapy interventions further.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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