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Rehabilitation Group Significantly Reduces Fatigue-Related Stress

Rehabilitation Group Significantly Reduces Fatigue-Related Stress

TAMPA, Florida—A rehabilitation group program—Energy for
Living With Cancer—has the ability to reduce fatigue-related distress and
improve quality of life, according to program developer Sandra Holley, PhD,
ARNP, a nurse scientist at the James A. Haley Veterans Administration
Medical Center, Tampa. Dr. Holley presented her results in a poster session
at the Oncology Nursing Society’s 26th Annual Congress.

The Energy for Living With Cancer program is a structured rehabilitation
intervention designed to educate patients about cancer-related fatigue and
to provide support and sharing among participants. Patients meet for 90
minutes once a week for 8 weeks.

The education component covers topics such as risk factors for fatigue,
how fatigue affects daily living, and fatigue management strategies. In the
sharing and support component, patients relay their experiences, share
coping techniques, and provide emotional support for one another.

To test the effectiveness of the program, Dr. Holley conducted a
prospective pre/post-test study involving 20 program participants. The mean
age of the participants was 63.6 (range, 38 to 86). Six different types of
cancer were represented, and 15 of the patients were receiving cancer
therapy at the time.

At the start of the program, study participants completed the
Cancer-Related Fatigue Distress Scale, the Center for Epidemiological
Studies—Depression form, and the Functional Living Index—Cancer scale.
Upon study completion, participants re-took the tests and completed a
program rating form.

Program rating results indicated a high degree of patient satisfaction
with the program. On a scale of 0 to 10, the mean rating in the program
evaluation was 9.8. Patients indicated that the educational topics were
relevant and beneficial and that the 8-week fatigue-management intervention provided much-needed information and emotional
support.

Moreover, post-program test results showed significant improvements in
fatigue-related distress and quality of life. Fatigue distress scores
decreased from a mean of 192.95 to 145.45, and quality-of-life scores
increased from 98.65 to 145.45—nearly a 50% improvement. Depression
scores decreased from 24.05 to 21.0, but this difference was not
statistically significant.

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