CASE SETTING

This study implemented a standardized exercise program for oncology patients in the Latrobe Valley region of Gippsland, Australia, aiming to assess its potential transferability to other regions. This was undertaken due to a lack of structured services available in Gippsland, limiting patient access to these programs, in which patients having to travel up to 2 hours for treatment in Melbourne.

TREATMENT

Implementation of a standardized exercise program for oncology patients, developed by a multidisciplinary team of exercise physiologists, oncology health professionals, and leisure centre fitness professionals. Exercise Physiologists conducted initial assessments and patients were placed in either individual, group exercise sessions and/or home-based programs.

RESULTS

The program demonstrated significant improvements in both physical and psychological well-being. The program has received 73 referrals, of which 48 participants completed initial assessments with an Exercise Physiologist. Of the remaining 25 participants, 2 were discharged to other services due to their location outside the program’s jurisdiction, 18 withdrew or did not attend their appointments, and 5 are currently on the waitlist for assessment. At the time of data collection, 17 participants had completed their reassessments.100% of participants improved on at least one physical test, and all participants improved on one of their subjective measures (fatigue, depression, anxiety, self-worth). Additionally, participant feedback was overwhelmingly positive, highlighting the program’s psycho-social support and the benefits of exercising outside a healthcare setting.

REFLECTIONS/LEARNINGS

This program successfully demonstrated the effectiveness of collaboration between healthcare services and leisure centres in delivering sustainable exercise programs for oncology patients outside of the healthcare setting. It also highlighted the value of providing both physical and psycho-social support, with the inclusion of care coordinators significantly reducing burdens on health services. The program’s success suggests strong potential for transferability to other regions.

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Author notes

First author’s contact: [email protected]