The longitudinal course of depression symptomatology following a palliative rehabilitation program
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PURPOSE: Patients with advanced cancer have increased life expectancy but suffer from ongoing burden. Depressive symptomatology is their most common mental health concern. The Ottawa Palliative Rehabilitation Program (PRP) offers rehabilitation for this population. It offers 8 weeks of individualized interdisciplinary rehabilitation, post cancer treatment. Interventions include medical (physician and nurse), physiotherapy, occupational therapy, dietary, and social work using a general self-efficacy framework. Pilot data suggest benefits in a range of domains, including ratings of feeling "depressed." We examined whether reduced symptomatology was maintained 3 months after PRP completion. METHODS: Participants with advanced heterogeneous cancers who completed the PRP were mailed the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (among others) 3-month post-PRP (n = 44). Demographic and medical information were obtained from patient files. RESULTS: There was a significant linear trend (mean T1: 6.79 ± 2.29; T2: 5.23 ± 3.06; T3: 4.59 ± 3.34; p = 0.007) with statistically and clinically significant decreases in reported depressive symptomatology between T1 and T2 (p = 0.042) and T1 and T3 (p = 0.007). There was a significant decreases in number of cases reporting symptomatology scores in the clinical range from T1 to T3 (p = 0.038). CONCLUSION: Patients who undergo a palliative rehabilitation program may experience relief of mild depressive symptomatology, maintainable 3-month post-PRP. The sample was exhibiting mild symptomatology and these results may not be generalizable to those with higher scores; a lack of specialized psychosocial clinician may have affected the acquired sample. Experimental designs are needed to more thoroughly compare these findings to independent rehabilitation interventions.
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