- (1) Institute of Regional Health Research, University of Southern Denmark and Department of Oncology, Vejle Hospital, Vejle, Denmark;
- (2) Vejle Sygehus, grid.417271.6, Southern Denmark Region
- (3) The Research Unit, Department of Palliative Medicine, Bispebjerg Hospital, Copenhagen University Hospital and Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark;
- (4) The Research Unit, Department of Palliative Medicine, Bispebjerg Hospital, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark;
- (5) None (retired), Vejle, Denmark;
75 Background: Palliative care and rehabilitation may both improve quality of life, but research on their combination and early integration into oncology care is sparse. Methods: Adults diagnosed with non-resectable cancers within the last 8 weeks were randomized to standard oncology care alone or an additional offer of individually tailored palliative rehabilitation. Two mandatory consultations and a 12 week open contact with a specialized palliative care team were offered. An additional opportunity was participation in a multidisciplinary group program combining a patient/caregiver school with physical exercise, individual consultations, or both. Participants were assessed at baseline and after 6 and 12 weeks with an extended version of the EORTC QLQ-C30 questionnaire using the item banks for computer-adaptive testing to obtain improved measurement. At baseline participants were asked to choose what they needed help with the most from a list of possible 'primary problems' corresponding to 12 of the 15 QLQ-C30 scales. The primary outcome was the change in that "primary problem" scale measured as area under the curve across the 12 weeks. Group differences were tested in an adjusted linear regression model. Results: 301 patients with lung- (40%), gastrointestinal- (27%), prostatic- (18%), and various other solid tumors (15%) were included. 139 patients were allocated to the intervention group and 149 to the standard care group. The palliative rehabilitation intervention was received by 132. Of those, 26 received the two mandatory consultations only, 59 additionally participated in a group program, and 47 additionally received individual consultations without participation in a group. The intervention showed an effect for the primary outcome with an absolute between-group difference of 3.0 (0.0;6.0) p = 0.047. The result was confirmed by a sensitivity analysis of the change from baseline to 12 weeks showing an absolute difference of 3.3 (1.0; 5.6) p = 0.005. Conclusions: A palliative rehabilitation intervention initiated soon after diagnosis and integrated in the standard oncology treatment improved quality of life. Clinical trial information: NCT02332317.