Rehabilitation: Long-Term Physical and Functional Changes Following Treatment
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OBJECTIVES: To describe the life altering issues that survivors of a head and neck cancer report post treatment and discuss multidimensional rehabilitation approaches. DATA SOURCES: Published journal articles, literature reviews, research reports, book chapters. CONCLUSION: Survivors and their family caregivers encounter many changes during the first 3 months following treatment for head and neck cancer, placing them at risk of multiple adjustment difficulties. Progressive weight loss, loss of energy, strength, muscle endurance and decreased functioning severely compromise healthy adjustment and quality of life. IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING PRACTICE: Nurses can help patients and family identify survivorship issues to be managed at home. Planning, exploring, coaching, practicing skills with survivors and their family caregivers, providing specific information, and linking them with resources can help them bridge this transition into extended survivorship.
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