Background and Purpose:
Home exercise programs (HEPs) improve quality of life (QoL), physical function, and fatigue in individuals recovering from cancer; however, they often lack supervision and individualization. Use of a weekly telephone call by a physical therapist (PT) may provide substantial guidance to improve outcomes and adherence. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of weekly calls in addition to an individualized HEP on physical function, QoL, fatigue, and adherence in people with cancer.
A prospective 2-armed single-cohort design implemented with survivors of cancer in early recovery. Control and intervention groups received in-home instruction of a PT-prescribed, 8-week HEP. The intervention group received weekly phone calls while the control group had no formal follow-up or program monitoring. Outcome measures assessed pre-/postintervention: 6-minute walk test (6MWT), Fullerton Advanced Balance Scale, European Organization of Research and Treatment of Cancer QoL Questionnaire (EORTC QLQ-C30), and Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy Fatigue Scale (FACIT). Nonparametric statistics were used to analyze changes within and between groups.
Fifteen participants (n = 7 intervention and n = 8 control) completed the study. The intervention group improved significantly in all outcomes except the 6MWT (P < .05). The control group did not demonstrate any significant improvements. Between groups, there was a significant difference at program completion in the FACIT (P = .007) and EORTC QLQ-C30 physical function subscale (P = .042).
A small, heterogeneous sample.
An individualized HEP with weekly calls may be a safe and effective way to improve outcomes of physical function, QoL, and fatigue in individuals with cancer during early recovery.