Health Promotion, Wellness, and Prevention Practice in Oncologic Physical Therapy: A Survey Study
Cancer and its treatments cause a variety of symptoms and sequelae that can be impacted by patients' health behaviors.
To examine the perceptions of their role and the extent to which physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) include health promotion, wellness, and prevention (HPWP) in the care of patients with cancer.
A survey was developed to examine the perceptions, current practice, and barriers to HPWP practice in oncologic physical therapist practice. After reliability testing and survey refinement, the survey was administered electronically to PTs and PTAs who provide care for individuals with cancer. The responses of 69 PTs and 4 PTAs who completed the survey were analyzed.
Respondents reported their perceived role versus current practice in discussing the following behaviors with their patients: physical activity/exercise (99%/99%), stress management (93%/72%), sleep hygiene (92%/61%), tobacco use (83%/28%), healthy eating (82%/71%), alcohol/substance abuse (74%/7%), and vaping/e-cigarettes (73%/3%). Reported barriers to HPWP practice included economic limitations, lack of time, level of patient interest, inadequate skills, and lack of organizational support and resources.
There was close alignment between respondents' perceived roles and HPWP practice for physical activity, healthy eating, and stress management but less agreement with the behaviors of sleep hygiene, alcohol/tobacco/substance use, and vaping. Limitations included a low response rate and limited psychometric testing of the survey. Because of the potential positive effect of healthy behaviors in those diagnosed with cancer, there is opportunity to better incorporate HPWP into oncologic physical therapist practice.
Wilson CM, Lucado AM, Wendland DM, Taylor DWM, Black B. Health promotion, wellness, and prevention practice in oncologic physical therapy: a survey study. Rehabil Oncol. 2021 Jul;39(3):E56-E57. doi: 10.1097/01.REO.0000000000000244