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Palliat Med. 2011 Dec;25(8):788-96. doi: 10.1177/0269216311398699. Epub 2011 Mar 10.

Exploring access to rehabilitation services from allied health professionals for patients with primary high-grade brain tumours.

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Wisdom Hospice, Rochester, UK.


Primary brain tumours account for less than 2% of cancer diagnoses in the UK but more people under 40 die from a brain tumour than from any other cancer. Despite developments in some treatment options, survival remains poor and patients suffer with considerable functional and cognitive deficits. Rehabilitation for patients with primary brain tumours produces statistically and clinically significant improvements in function. When compared, similar functional gains are made following rehabilitation for brain tumour patients and for those following stroke and traumatic brain injury. There have been very few studies looking at access to rehabilitation for this group of patients as a primary objective. However, existing studies and clinical experience suggest that patients with brain tumours do not access rehabilitation services frequently or easily, either locally or nationally. Therefore, this qualitative study addressed the reasons for this through semi-structured interviews of healthcare professionals, investigating their experiences of rehabilitation for this patient group and describing commonly identified barriers under key themes. The interviews gauged the views of eight healthcare professionals representing three professions in different settings, including hospital and community based. The resultant barriers fell under the following themes: professional knowledge and behaviours; services and systems; and the disease and its effects. Suggested solutions were wide ranging and included education, multidisciplinary meetings and specialist clinicians to co-ordinate care. The barriers to accessing rehabilitation for this group of patients are complex, but some of the solutions could be reached through education and co-ordination of services. Further research into the benefits of, and access to, rehabilitation for this group of patients is essential to ensure that patients with brain tumours are given opportunity to gain from the benefits of rehabilitation in the same way as other diagnoses, both cancer and non-cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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