Centre of Expertise Urban Vitality

Education Needs of Dutch Physical Therapists for the Treatment of Patients With Advanced Cancer: A Mixed Methods Study


<p>BACKGROUND: The survival rates for patients with advanced cancer have increased over time. Many patients experience symptoms and functional limitations that impair activities of daily living and limit quality of life. A number of these health problems are amenable to physical therapist treatment. However, physical therapists caring for patients with advanced cancer require special training and skills.</p><p>OBJECTIVE: The study aimed to assess the educational needs and clinical uncertainties of Dutch physical therapists in relation to treatment of patients with advanced cancer.</p><p>DESIGN: This was a mixed methods study.</p><p>METHODS: A survey and 2 focus groups were conducted among physical therapists working in primary care who had previously received at least basic oncology training.</p><p>RESULTS: A total of 162 physical therapists completed the survey. The most frequently reported educational needs were related to effective interprofessional collaboration (61.7%), knowledge of medical treatment (49.4%), and current evidence on physical therapist interventions in this population (49.4%). In the focus groups, physical therapists (n = 17) voiced uncertainties about treating patients with bone metastases, setting realistic goals, when and how to end a treatment episode, interprofessional collaboration, finding and using evidence, and using clinimetrics.</p><p>CONCLUSION: These results support the need for specific education programs for physical therapists working with advanced cancer patients to increase the availability of high-quality oncology rehabilitation for this population.</p>

Reference Ten Tusscher, M. R., Groen, W. G., Geleijn, E., Berkelaar, D., Aaronson, N. K., & Stuiver, M. M. (2020). Education Needs of Dutch Physical Therapists for the Treatment of Patients With Advanced Cancer: A Mixed Methods Study. Physical therapy, 100(3), 477-486. https://doi.org/10.1093/ptj/pzz172
Published by  Urban Vitality 1 March 2020

Publication date

Mar 2020


Marieke R Ten Tusscher
Wim G Groen
Edwin Geleijn
Dagmar Berkelaar
Neil K Aaronson
Martijn M Stuiver


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