Faculty Advisor(s)

Amy J. Litterini



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Background: Individuals with frailty who undergo surgical procedures for gastrointestinal cancers are more likely to experience post-surgical complications, have a higher readmission rate, are more likely to be discharged to skilled care, and have an over four-fold risk of mortality. Developing targeted patient education tools and resources may support, and reduce complications for, individuals with frailty undergoing and recovering from major abdominal surgery.
Methods: Program development began via the Delphi Method, including three survey iterations distributed to top experts in the field of Oncologic Physical Therapy. Results achieved expert consensus for exercise parameters. Brief, simple to understand exercise videos and instructions were created for patients to perform independently preoperatively to increase their physical capabilities at home. Other key stakeholders including the surgical oncologist, pre-operative admissions staff, surgical care clinical manager, surgical oncology navigators, physical therapists and education specialists created the complete prehabilitation program curriculum within the Thinkific on-line education platform with input from cancer survivors.
Results: The final curriculum included: prehabilitation instructions for pre-surgical preparation, therapeutic exercise, and nutrition optimization; tobacco cessation resources; instruction in stress management and relaxation techniques; and postoperative delirium reduction strategies and incision care. Promotional materials were created to launch the pilot program within the surgical oncology service line.
Conclusion: This process improvement project proved to be feasible and appropriate for this application as a new oncology service. Future directions include program implementation for gastrointestinal cancer survivors with the intention for outcomes data collection. Further implementation is planned for cancer survivors with different diagnoses facing surgery.

Publication Date



Physical Therapy

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The case report paper for this poster can be found here:



© 2021 The Authors

Development Of A Comprehensive Web-Based Prehabilitation Program For Gastrointestinal Cancer Survivors
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