Efficacy of Group Exercise-Based Cancer Rehabilitation Delivered via Telehealth (TeleCaRe): Protocol for a Randomized Controlled Trial

Amy M. Dennett, Katherine E. Harding, Casey L. Peiris, Nora Shields, Christian Barton, Lauren Lynch, Phillip Parente, David Lim, Nicholas F. Taylor

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Abstract

Background: Access to rehabilitation to support cancer survivors to exercise is poor. Group exercise-based rehabilitation may be delivered remotely, but no trials have currently evaluated their efficacy. 

Objective: We aimed to evaluate the efficacy of a group exercise-based cancer rehabilitation program delivered via telehealth compared to usual care for improving the quality of life of cancer survivors. 

Methods: A parallel, assessor-blinded, pragmatic randomized controlled trial with embedded cost and qualitative analysis will be completed. In total, 116 cancer survivors will be recruited from a metropolitan health network in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. The experimental group will attend an 8-week, twice-weekly, 60-minute exercise group session supervised via videoconferencing supplemented by a web-based home exercise program and information portal. The comparison group will receive usual care including standardized exercise advice and written information. Assessments will be completed at weeks 0 (baseline), 9 (post intervention), and 26 (follow-up). The primary outcome will be health-related quality of life measured using the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire at week 9. Secondary measures include walking capacity (6-minute walk test), physical activity (activPAL accelerometer), self-efficacy (Health Action Process Approach Questionnaire), and adverse events. Health service data including hospital length of stay, hospital readmissions, and emergency department presentations will be recorded. Semistructured interviews will be completed within an interpretive description framework to explore the patient experience. The primary outcome will be analyzed using linear mixed effects models. A cost-effectiveness analysis will also be performed. 

Results: The trial commenced in April 2022. As of June 2022, we enrolled 14 participants. 

Conclusions: This trial will inform the future implementation of cancer rehabilitation by providing important data about efficacy, safety, cost, and patient experience.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere38553
Number of pages12
JournalJMIR Research Protocols
Volume11
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • cancer
  • exercise
  • physical activity
  • supportive care
  • telehealth
  • telerehabilitation

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