Availability, characteristics, and barriers of rehabilitation programs in organ transplant populations across Canada
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Rehabilitation is receiving increasingly more attention from the medical community in the management of individuals' pre- and post-organ transplantation. A cross-sectional descriptive survey was administered to all known transplant programs across Canada to explore the availability, characteristics, and barriers of rehabilitation programs pre- and post-heart, lung, kidney, and liver transplantation. Of the 58 programs surveyed, 35 agreed to participate (nine heart, six lung, 13 kidney, seven liver), and six refused for a response rate of 71%. Twelve transplant programs that offered rehabilitation were identified (six heart, five lung, one liver). All rehabilitation programs identified included aerobic exercises, strength training, and education and involved a multidisciplinary team. The Six Minute Walk Test and the Medical Outcomes Short Form-36 questionnaire were the most commonly used outcome measures. In kidney and liver transplant programs, over 50% of respondents from these programs cited lack of funding, shortage of health care personnel, and a low volume of patients in a centralized region as barriers to providing rehabilitation programs. Rehabilitation can play an integral role in pre- and post-transplantation management, and barriers to access and provision of rehabilitation for organ transplant populations should be examined further.
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