Effects of Rehabilitation Program on Quality of Life, Sleep, Rest-Activity Rhythms, Anxiety, and Depression of Patients With Esophageal Cancer
A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial
Chen, Hui-Mei PhD, RN; Lin, Yi-Yun PhD, RN; Wu, Yu-Chung MD; Huang, Chien-Sheng MD; Hsu, Po-Kuei PhD, MD; Chien, Ling-I RN; Lin, Yu-Jung MS, RN; Huang, Hsiu-Li MS, RN
"Patients with esophageal cancer experience severe symptoms and poor quality of life. Therefore, oncology nurses play a crucial role in collaborating with experts from various disciplines, such as chest surgeons, oncologists, radiologists, rehabilitation physicians, physical therapists, and dieticians, to develop and conduct a rehabilitation program to relieve patients' symptoms. We designed a rehabilitation program involving home-based exercise and dietary education and observed improvements in anxiety, sleep, and health-related quality of life in patients with esophageal cancer. During the study period, I was encouraged when patients expressed willingness to adopt a healthier lifestyle through exercise and dietary adjustments. Nonpharmacological treatment to relieve symptoms is low in cost, has no side effects, and is generally accepted by patients with cancer. Exercise and diet education booklets can be used to instruct patients with esophageal cancer. Furthermore, telecare, including home-based exercises instruction and telephone or Internet consultations, is preferable to hospital-based care during the COVID-19 outbreak."
--Corresponding author Dr Hui-Mei Chen
This article was published in CANCER NURSING Volume 45, Issue 2. For a limited time, the article may be viewed below without a subscription.
Esophageal cancer patients experience severe symptoms and poor quality of life.
We examined the effects of a rehabilitation program on quality of life, sleep, rest-activity rhythms, anxiety, and depression of esophageal cancer patients.
Forty-four patients with esophageal cancer were randomly assigned to an experimental group, which underwent a 12-week brisk walking and diet education program, or a control group, which received standard care. Health-related quality of life, subjective and objective sleep quality, rest-activity rhythms, anxiety, and depression were assessed at baseline and post intervention.
A generalized estimating equation analysis revealed that, after intervention, compared with the control group, the experimental group exhibited significantly improved reflux (P = .022; effect size, 0.32) and marginally improved emotional (P = .069; effect size, 0.27) and social (P = .069; effect size, 0.27) functions; constipation (P = .050; effect size, 0.29), eating difficulty (P = .058; effect size, 0.27), anxiety (P = .050; effect size, 0.29), and total sleep time (P = .068; effect size, 0.39).
The rehabilitation program may improve health-related quality of life and sleep and alleviate anxiety in patients with esophageal cancer.
Implications for Practice
A rehabilitation program comprising exercise and diet education is a feasible and low-cost intervention for improving quality of life of patients with esophageal cancer. Healthcare team members may consider it as a nonpharmacological treatment option for patients.