Research suggests that patients experience increased fatigue, reduced physical activity, and diminished quality of life (QOL) after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). Structured exercise during hospitalization has been shown to maintain or improve fatigue. Incentive-based interventions have not been tested to encourage physical activity maintenance.
The study’s aim was to evaluate the effect of participation in an incentive-based mobility program on fatigue, physical conditioning, performance status, and QOL in individuals undergoing allogeneic HSCT. We hypothesized that program participation would affect these variables and that time spent engaged in physical activity would correlate with improved outcomes.
A 1-group repeated-measures design used the Brief Fatigue Inventory, 6-minute walk test, and the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy–Bone Marrow Transplant Scale to assess study variables. Repeated-measures models assessed the effect of participation time on these variables.
Individuals with higher participation (minutes) significantly increased 6-minute walk test scores throughout hospitalization but had no significant changes in Brief Fatigue Inventory and Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy–Bone Marrow Transplant Scale scores. Fatigue and QOL decreased over hospitalization but improved by discharge. Subjects who demonstrated higher participation averaged fewer hospital days (R = 1.65; P = .005).
This study is unique in examining the impact of an incentive-based mobility program, participation in which may decrease length of hospital stay for HSCT patients. Randomized trials are needed to further validate these findings and assess additional variables that can influence outcomes.
Implications for Practice:
An incentive-based mobility program during hospitalization for HSCT has the potential to minimize fatigue and stabilize, if not improve, QOL.