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

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
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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.

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.

DESIGN: This was a mixed methods study.

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.

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.

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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)477-486
JournalPhysical Therapy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020


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