Teleprehabilitation for Surgical Cancer Patients

Official Title

Virtual Prehabilitation of Surgical Cancer Patients in Times of the Covid-19 Pandemic


There is a general concern that the backlog of cancer patients waiting for surgery during this period is going to increase and the general impact on patients isolated in their homes is going to cause potential physiological and psychological impairments. Therefore, we propose a distanced-delivered personalized home-based prehabilitation program to all cancer patients scheduled for surgery at the MUHC. The program will be delivered by qualified professionals, supported by technology provided by POP, to all cancer patients waiting for surgery, addressing the patients' risk factors in patients' pandemic reality perspective. Participant contacts will primarily occur virtually using technologies such as video conferencing and digital applications. This will enable us to continue to support people with cancer and deliver safe remote counseling by specialist healthcare providers in their own homes, whilst adhering to the Governmental guidelines on social distancing, self-isolation and shielding.

Trial Description

Primary Outcome:

  • Recruitment Rate
  • Adherence
  • Program Completion Rate
  • frequency of Technological Failures
  • Intervention-Related Adverse Events
  • Rational for Refusal to Participate
  • Rational for Low Compliance
  • Rational for Drop-Outs
Secondary Outcome:
  • 30 Second Sit-to-Stand
  • Time-Up and Go (TUG)
  • 2- or 6-Minute Walk Test
  • Abridged-Scored Patient-Generated Subjective Global Assessment (PG-SGA)
  • Body Mass Index (BMI)
  • CRP
  • Serum Albumin
  • Duke Activity Status Index (DASI)
  • Quality of Life (EQ5D)
  • The Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS)
  • Distress Thermometer
  • The WHO Disability Assessment Schedule v2.0 (WHODAS)
  • The Energy Expenditure (CHAMPS)
  • The Clavien-Dindo Classifications(CDC)
  • The Comprehensive Complication Index (CCI)
  • The 30-day Mortality
  • Length of Intensive Care Stay
  • Days with a chest tube
  • Length of Hospital Stay
The current project aims to improve the quality of care delivered to oncologic surgical candidates during the COVID-19 pandemic. The specific objectives of the study are: 1. to assess the feasibility of a distance-delivered prehabilitation program to oncologic surgical candidates in light of the current global pandemic, 2. to measure the effect of technology-supported prehabilitation on preoperative and postoperative functional capacity and clinical outcomes, and 3. To qualitatively investigate the impact of distance-delivery of prehabilitation on health-related quality of life, anxiety and depression, which may be exacerbated by the current global phenomenon. To do so, a convenient study group of 100 patients on the waiting lists to undergo elective thoracic and abdominal surgery, initially at the Montreal General Hospital (MGH) will be recruited over the next year and a half. Program: The program for the current study will consist of two parts, the first being individual counseling with different healthcare professionals, the second component would be a home-based prehabilitation program for patients awaiting their surgery. The healthcare providers available for participants' respective needs include exercise physiologist (a), nutritionists (b), psychosocial (c), and if needed smoking cessation (d) personnel who would contact patients via phone, and a videoconferencing platform (Zoom) if possible, facilitated by the use of the tablet. Exercise physiologists will follow-up with patients regularly throughout the continuum of care (before and after their surgery) and refer them to the relevant specialists as needed. The patients will also have access to premade videos prepared by POP to provide additional support in their application of the preoperative recommendations: physical activity (aerobic, resistance, and flexibility), nutrition optimization (healthy eating, improving protein and energy intake, portion size, glycemic control), psychological exercises (breathing exercise, relaxation, imaging, visualization) and smoking cessations. These videos will be available to the patients on their tablets, in addition, the exercises will be demonstrated in the booklets. Outcome Measures: All outcomes will be captured via patient chart review, self-report questionnaires, data collected from the Polar watch, and digital surveys. Chart review outcomes include the length of hospital stay, surgical and postoperative complications. The primary outcome of the current study is to assess the feasibility of distance-delivery of Prehabilitation to these high-priority cancer patients using a digital platform. In order to ascertain if the program was feasible, the evaluation criteria included quantitative measures such as recruitment rate, adherence to program (self-reported measures and crude data from the polar), program completion rate, frequency of technological failures, adverse events, in addition to qualitative measures such as rationale for refusal to participate, low compliance and drop-outs. Secondary outcomes also include parameters of functional health, nutritional and metabolic status, self-reported outcomes, and surgical outcomes. Potential confounding variables: The current study will investigate a diverse patient population. A large degree of variability is to be expected in the observed functional and clinical outcomes. Several factors are known to affect patient prognosis and recovery, among them baseline BMI, smoking status, comorbidities (CCI), type of cancer, neoadjuvant therapies (type and duration) and duration of the prehabilitation program. Therefore, the current study will investigate the impact each factor on the reported outcomes.

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Canadian Cancer Society

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