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Using A Simple Screening Tool to Enhance Awareness and Utilization of Rehabilitation Services for Pediatric Oncology Patients in the Acute Care Setting

Miale, Susan, PT, DPT, PCS1; Stimler, Laura, OTR/L, BCP, C/NDT2; Riedel, Elyn Renee, MA3

Rehabilitation Oncology: 2013 - Volume 31 - Issue 2 - p 6–10

Background: Children with cancer are at risk for physical, social, functional, and emotional deficits. Physical and occupational therapy (PT/OT) can help prevent dysfunction and improve motor performance and quality of life in these children. A screening tool was created to determine the need for PT/OT in the acute care pediatric oncology population.

Procedure: For 3 years, every child admitted to the pediatric unit at an urban cancer hospital was screened to determine the need for PT/OT. A retrospective study compared screen-generated referrals to rehabilitation services to physician-generated referrals over time.

Results: The proportion of referrals to OT increased over time. The percentage of referrals generated by physicians demonstrated a statistically significant increase over time for both PT and OT (P < 0.0001, P < 0.0001, respectively).

Conclusions: Screening pediatric cancer patients in the hospital setting is a useful and feasible tool for rehabilitation program development and to improve functional mobility and quality of life of children with cancer.

1Department of Physical Therapy, School of Health Technology and Management, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY

2Rehabilitation Medicine Service, Department of Neurology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY

3Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY

Address correspondence to: Susan Miale, PT, DPT, PCS, Stony Brook University, School of Health Technology and Management, Department of Physical Therapy, Health Sciences Center, Stony Brook, NY 11794 Ph: (631) 444-6623, Fax: (631) 444-6305 (

©2013 (C) Academy of Oncologic Physical Therapy, APTA
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