The Interdisciplinary Rehabilitation Care Team and the Role of Physical Therapy in Survivor Exercise

Margaret L. McNeely

Naomi Dolgoy

Mona Onazi

Kirsten Suderman

cancer, physical therapy, cancer rehabilitation, impairment, exercise
CJON 2016, 20(6), S8-S16. DOI: 10.1188/16.CJON.S2.8-16

Background: Rehabilitation professionals offer expertise in functional assessment, treatment of impairments and functional limitations, and disability prevention. To optimize recovery, and often prior to participating in community-based exercise programming, survivors may need rehabilitation services from a range of healthcare professionals, including physiatrists, nurses, nutritionists, psychologists, and speech, occupational, and physical therapists.

Objectives: Survivors with physical impairments and functional limitations may benefit from interdisciplinary rehabilitation and physical therapy, including tailored therapeutic exercise interventions.

Methods: A literature review was conducted using the key words cancer survivor, cancer rehabilitation, impairment, fatigue, lymphedema, chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy, and exercise. MEDLINE®, EMBASE, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and CINAHL® databases were searched.

Findings: Nurses play a critical role in identifying survivors whose function or fitness is compromised to the point where participation in community-based exercise programming would be inappropriate or unsafe. The interdisciplinary rehabilitation care team can help facilitate the survivor’s transition to community-based exercise programming.

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