Developing short-term integrated rehabilitation for people with thoracic cancer

South LondonCancer
Start Date: 1 Jun 2016 End Date: 31 May 2019

Lung cancer is the second most common cancer in the UK, with 40,000 new diagnoses each year. Patients experience a range of symptoms which impacts adversely on their treatment, daily activities, levels of independence and quality of life.

Despite national policy, patients face difficulties accessing rehabilitation services which would help improve their quality of life and independence. Currently, many rehabilitation services are intensive, supervised exercise programmes (over 8 – 20 weeks) which are only acceptable to a minority of patients.

Jo Bayly, a King’s College London research fellow in the palliative and end of life care team is leading a study to develop and test a new short-term, integrated service for people with newly diagnosed thoracic cancer.

How will the study work?

The study will involve 60 adults who have been diagnosed with thoracic cancer within two months, who are not currently receiving specialist rehabilitation. Patients will receive short-term integrated rehabilitation over three appointments by an allied health professional, such as a physiotherapist working to a manual and in collaboration with other professionals such as oncologists and specialist nurses.  Key elements of the programme will include:

  • Checking concerns and treatment goals
  • Functional assessment
  • Limiting symptoms
  • Self-management skills and strategies
  • Education to enhance healthy behaviours
  • An action plan shared with others and referrals to local services.

What is the potential impact of the study?

Clinical outcomes from the study will be analysed and compared with patients who receive the standard NHS care, which can include specialist nurse contacts but with generally limited advice on maintaining function.  The researchers also investigate patients and health care professionals’ experience of the trial. The results will be communicated to health care staff and policy makers to help improve the quality of life of people with thoracic cancer.

The study was adopted by CLAHRC South London in May 2017. It is funded by a NIHR Clinical Research Fellowship and will finish in May 2019.   

Jo Bayly