Analysis of adherence to acute inpatient rehabilitation in patients with cancer

Jegy M. Tennison, Carly M. Sullivan, Brian C. Fricke, Eduardo Bruera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Importance: The need for cancer rehabilitation is expected to continue to dramatically increase with the aging population and increasing number of cancer survivors. These survivors experience a wide range of physical limitations and symptoms that negatively affect their health and quality of life. Research is needed to determine the rate of adherence, reasons for non-adherence, and interventions to improve adherence to acute inpatient rehabilitation among patients with cancer. Objective: To evaluate the rate of adherence and reasons for non-adherence to acute inpatient rehabilitation in patients with cancer. Design, Setting, and Participants: This was a secondary analysis of a retrospective study that assessed medical complications in 165 patients with cancer who had a median length of stay of 11 days (interquartile range of 8-14) in acute inpatient rehabilitation. We reviewed the records of all consecutive patients who underwent acute inpatient rehabilitation from September 1, 2017 through February 28, 2018 at a large academic, quaternary National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center. Main Outcomes and Measures: We calculated the rehabilitation session adherence rate and descriptively summarized the reasons for non-adherence. Results: There were 78/165 (47%) patients that had 1 or more incomplete rehabilitation sessions due to medical complications. These patients had a median of 2 (interquartile range of 1-4) incomplete rehabilitation sessions. We noted other reasons for incomplete rehabilitation sessions in 146/165 (89%) patients, who had a median of 3 (interquartile range of 2-4) incomplete rehabilitation sessions. The median total number of days with incomplete rehabilitation sessions in the entire cohort was 2 (interquartile range 1-3). Conclusion and Relevance: Among patients with cancer undergoing acute inpatient rehabilitation, the adherence rate to 1-hour long intensive rehabilitation sessions were low due to medical complications and other reasons. This in turn affected compliance with the 3 hours of rehabilitation a day requirement for acute inpatient rehabilitation. Patients with cancer undergoing acute inpatient rehabilitation are medically complex and further research at multiple institutions with larger cohorts may be beneficial in further assessing adherence rates and reasons for non-adherence to improve participation in acute inpatient rehabilitation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5987-5990
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Cancer
Issue number20
StatePublished - 2021


  • Exercise
  • Guideline adherence
  • Inpatients
  • Neoplasm
  • Occupational therapy
  • Rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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