Cancer-Related Fatigue Rehabilitation Delivered via eHealth: A Feasibility Study

Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date



Physical Therapy


Background/purpose: Cancer-related fatigue (CRF) impacts nearly all individuals with cancer at some point during the cancer care continuum, impacting functional abilities and quality of life. The recent COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the use of eHealth to provide care. It is unknown whether eHealth rehabilitation is feasible for this population. The purpose of this study was to determine the feasibility of an interprofessional physical and occupational therapy eHealth intervention to reduce the effects of CRF.

Methods: Six participants between the ages of 18-70 with a diagnosis of cancer in the past 5 years, not currently undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatment, with a fatigue level of 4 or higher on the One Item Fatigue Scale scale, were enrolled in the study. Outcome measures were taken via videoconferencing (VC) at baseline, 4, and 8 weeks, which included the Brief Fatigue Inventory (BFI), 6- minute-walk-test (6MWT), 30 second sit-to-stand (STS), and the Canadian Occupational Performance Measure (COPM). Intervention included an individualized physical therapy (PT) exercise program, and occupational therapy (OT) important activity coaching. PT prescribed a 45-minute exercise program based on participant present ¦tness level using max and target heart rate (HR) calculation via VC. Participants were instructed to complete exercises twice weekly for 8 weeks and to log completion and response using HR and BORG Rating of Perceived Exertion. Exercise was adjusted weekly based on responses. Each program included warm-up, strength training, aerobic conditioning, and cool down. OT guided problem solving sessions via VC to develop a plan to meet activity-based goals. Individualized websites included video demonstrations of prescribed exercises, exercise log, weekly activity goals and plans, handouts, and weekly schedule. Adherence and response to intervention was monitored weekly via VC and log. Descriptive statistics were calculated to illustrate the response to the intervention.

Results: Five participants completed the 8-week study; one participant dropped out due to family issues. Initial participation challenges were related to accessing individual websites and using VC. 6MWT distance increased on average 72 meters, and STS 8 repetitions. Fatigue level decreased 50% to an average of 3/10. COPM scores increased by an average of 4 points.

Conclusions: Using e-Health to deliver a personalized exercise program and problem-solving intervention is feasible. Individual websites provided participants with a centralized location for exercises, activity goal plans, and supporting resources. While there were improvements in all outcome measures, a larger study size is necessary to determine effectiveness of intervention.

Clinical Relevance: eHealth is a feasible means to deliver both PT exercise and OT problem-solving intervention to reduce financial, travel and medical barriers.


physical therapy, survivorship, function


Education | Occupational Therapy | Physical Therapy


Presentation: 9:30 p.m. Friday, April 22, 2022

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