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Telerehabilitation Aids Function, Pain With Advanced Cancer

But the addition of pharmacological pain management did not offer further benefit

cancer patient

FRIDAY, April 26, 2019 (Pharmacist's Briefing) -- Collaborative telerehabilitation modestly improves function and pain while decreasing hospital length of stay and the need for postacute care in advanced cancer patients, according to a study published online April 4 in JAMA Oncology.

Andrea L. Cheville, M.D., from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and colleagues evaluated whether collaborative telerehabilitation and pharmacological pain management improve function, lessen pain, and reduce requirements for inpatient care among 516 patients with advanced-stage cancer. Participants were randomly assigned to the control arm, the telerehabilitation arm, or the telerehabilitation with pharmacological pain management arm.

The researchers found that the telerehabilitation-only group had improved function and quality of life compared with the control group. Both the telerehabilitation arm (arm 2) and the telerehabilitation with pharmacological management arm (arm 3) had reduced pain interference and average intensity. Telerehabilitation was associated with higher odds of home discharge (arm 2, odds ratio, 4.3; arm 3, odds ratio, 3.8). Patients in telerehabilitation arm 2 spent fewer days in the hospital.

"Collaborative telerehabilitation that integrates impairment and pain management may be considered a viable component of comprehensive cancer care for patients with advanced-stage cancer experiencing mild disability," the authors write.

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