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23.07.2021 | short review | Ausgabe 3/2021 Open Access

memo - Magazine of European Medical Oncology 3/2021

Rehabilitation for children and adolescents after cancer: importance and implementation in Austria

memo - Magazine of European Medical Oncology > Ausgabe 3/2021
Gustav Fischmeister, David Riedl, Gabriele Sanio, Thomas Bogendorfer, Bernhard Holzner, Gerhard Rumpold, Alain Nickels, Thomas Licht, Wolfgang Sperl
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Until 2018 only adults had access to rehabilitation in Austria, but since then 5 centers for pediatric rehabilitation with different indications have been established with the goal of improving the health of sick children and young adults. The pediatric rehabilitation center “Leuwaldhof”, which is located south of Salzburg, is the only pediatric oncologic rehabilitation center in Austria. It offers rehabilitation and recovery for pediatric patients who suffered from malignancies, as well as for their families and siblings, but also for acute or chronic disease in metabolism or digestion. Cancer and its treatment significantly decrease the quality of life (QoL) of pediatric patients and their families. Families often have to split up during the months of chemotherapy if there are siblings in the family and very often it is the mother who stays with the sick child in the hospital. To facilitate recovery for the families in these difficult times, interdisciplinary and family-oriented inpatient rehabilitation has recently been implemented in Austria. To evaluate the improvements during the rehabilitation, the QoL of the patients and families has been routinely assessed since the opening of the center. In a specifically designed ‘life app’, patients and families complete the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory (PedsQL; generic score and cancer module) before and after rehabilitation on their own electronic devices. Data of 98 patients and 124 parents between June 2018 and December 2019 show significant improvements in QoL. Our goal is to support the children and their families to help them return to normal life. Our results show rehabilitation helps achieve this important goal.

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