Limitations of Current Rehabilitation Practices in Pediatric Oncology: Implications for Improving Comprehensive Clinical Care

Molly J. Houdeshell, Kristin M. Thomas, Allison A. King, Allison J. L'Hotta

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1 Scopus citations


Objective: To identify the proportion of hospitals/clinics in the United States (US) that have a comprehensive pediatric oncology rehabilitation program and characterize current practices. Design: Cross-sectional survey of rehabilitation providers in the US and internationally. Setting: Electronic or telephone survey. Participants: Rehabilitation or supportive care practitioners employed at a hospital, outpatient clinic, or medical university (N=231). Interventions: Electronic and telephone survey. The full electronic survey contained 39 questions, provided opportunities for open-ended responses, and covered 3 main categories specific to pediatric cancer rehabilitation: service delivery, rehabilitation program practices, and education/training. The short telephone survey included 4 questions from the full survey and was designed to answer the primary study objective. Main Outcome Measures: Proportion of hospitals/clinics with a comprehensive pediatric oncology rehabilitation program. Results: This cohort includes rehabilitation providers from 191 hospitals/clinics, 49 states within the US, and 5 countries outside of the US. Of hospitals/clinics represented from the full and short survey, 145 (76%) do not have an established pediatric oncology rehabilitation program. Nearly half of full survey respondents reported no knowledge of the prospective surveillance model, and 65% reported no education was provided to them regarding pediatric cancer rehabilitation. Qualitative survey responses fell into 3 major themes: variability in approach to rehabilitation service delivery, program gaps, and need for additional educational opportunities. Conclusions: There is evidence of limited comprehensive rehabilitation programming for children with cancer as demonstrated by the lack of programs with coordinated interdisciplinary care, variability in long-term follow-up, and absence of education and training. Research is needed to support the development and implementation of comprehensive pediatric oncology rehabilitation programs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2353-2361
Number of pages9
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Cancer survivors
  • Health services
  • Pediatrics
  • Rehabilitation


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