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      Virtual Prehabilitation in Patients With Cancer Undergoing Surgery During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Protocol for a Prospective Feasibility Study


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          Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, preoperative care, also termed prehabilitation, has become increasingly relevant due to the decreasing functional and psychosocial health of patients with cancer, which is a result of the pandemic restrictions. Concurrently, access to telehealth has improved; telehealth comprises all remote care delivery facilitated by information technologies (ie, virtually).


          The aim of this protocol is to describe the rationale and methodology for a major trial investigating the feasibility and safety of multimodal virtual prehabilitation services (ie, teleprehabilitation).


          This single-arm feasibility trial aims to recruit 100 patients with cancer to receive teleprehabilitation throughout their preoperative period. The inclusion criteria are as follows: (1) 18 years of age or older, (2) scheduled for elective cancer surgery and referred by a surgeon, (3) medically cleared by the referring physician to engage in physical activity, and (4) have a good comprehension of the English or French language. Feasibility will be assessed by documenting recruitment, adherence, and retention rates, in addition to patients’ motives for not participating in the trial, low participation, or discontinuation. The secondary outcome of safety will be assessed by reporting program-related adverse events.


          The Montreal General Hospital Foundation funded the project in August 2020. The protocol was then approved by the Research Ethics Board of the McGill University Health Centre in January 2021 (ID No. 2021-6730). The first patient was recruited in March 2021, and recruitment is expected to end in September 2022. As of March 2022, 36 patients have been recruited, including 24 who have completed their participation. No adverse events have been reported. Data collection is expected to conclude in November 2022. Data analysis will be performed, and the results will be published by the beginning of 2023.


          This trial will provide guidance on the use of telehealth in the administration of prehabilitation services. The trial will provide a large amount of information that will respond to gaps in the literature, as there are minimal reports on the use of telehealth rehabilitation and prehabilitation services among elderly populations and in acute contexts, such as the preoperative period.

          Trial Registration

          ClinicalTrials.gov NCT0479956; https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04799561

          International Registered Report Identifier (IRRID)


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          ATS statement: guidelines for the six-minute walk test.

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            Development and validation of criterion-referenced clinically relevant fitness standards for maintaining physical independence in later years.

            To develop and validate criterion-referenced fitness standards for older adults that predict the level of capacity needed for maintaining physical independence into later life. The proposed standards were developed for use with a previously validated test battery for older adults-the Senior Fitness Test (Rikli, R. E., & Jones, C. J. (2001). Development and validation of a functional fitness test for community--residing older adults. Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, 6, 127-159; Rikli, R. E., & Jones, C. J. (1999a). Senior fitness test manual. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.). A criterion measure to assess physical independence was identified. Next, scores from a subset of 2,140 "moderate-functioning" older adults from a larger cross-sectional database, together with findings from longitudinal research on physical capacity and aging, were used as the basis for proposing fitness standards (performance cut points) associated with having the ability to function independently. Validity and reliability analyses were conducted to test the standards for their accuracy and consistency as predictors of physical independence. Performance standards are presented for men and women ages 60-94 indicating the level of fitness associated with remaining physically independent until late in life. Reliability and validity indicators for the standards ranged between .79 and .97. The proposed standards provide easy-to-use, previously unavailable methods for evaluating physical capacity in older adults relative to that associated with physical independence. Most importantly, the standards can be used in planning interventions that target specific areas of weakness, thus reducing risk for premature loss of mobility and independence.
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              Delays and Disruptions in Cancer Health Care Due to COVID-19 Pandemic: Systematic Review

              PURPOSE There has been noteworthy concern about the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on health services including the management of cancer. In addition to being considered at higher risk for worse outcomes from COVID-19, people with cancer may also experience disruptions or delays in health services. This systematic review aimed to identify the delays and disruptions to cancer services globally. METHODS This is a systematic review with a comprehensive search including specific and general databases. We considered any observational longitudinal and cross-sectional study design. The selection, data extraction, and methodological assessment were performed by two independent reviewers. The methodological quality of the studies was assessed by specific tools. The delays and disruptions identified were categorized, and their frequency was presented. RESULTS Among the 62 studies identified, none exhibited high methodological quality. The most frequent determinants for disruptions were provider- or system-related, mainly because of the reduction in service availability. The studies identified 38 different categories of delays and disruptions with impact on treatment, diagnosis, or general health service. Delays or disruptions most investigated included reduction in routine activity of cancer services and number of cancer surgeries; delay in radiotherapy; and delay, reschedule, or cancellation of outpatient visits. Interruptions and disruptions largely affected facilities (up to 77.5%), supply chain (up to 79%), and personnel availability (up to 60%). CONCLUSION The remarkable frequency of delays and disruptions in health care mostly related to the reduction of the COVID-19 burden unintentionally posed a major risk on cancer care worldwide. Strategies can be proposed not only to mitigate the main delays and disruptions but also to standardize their measurement and reporting. As a high number of publications continuously are being published, it is critical to harmonize the upcoming reports and constantly update this review.

                Author and article information

                JMIR Res Protoc
                JMIR Res Protoc
                JMIR Research Protocols
                JMIR Publications (Toronto, Canada )
                May 2022
                6 May 2022
                : 11
                : 5
                : e29936
                [1 ] Department of Experimental Surgery Faculty of Medicine McGill University Montreal, QC Canada
                [2 ] Peri Operative Program Department of Anesthesia McGill University Health Center Montreal, QC Canada
                Author notes
                Corresponding Author: Genevieve Lambert genevieve.lambert@ 123456mail.mcgill.ca
                Author information
                ©Genevieve Lambert, Kenneth Drummond, Bhagya Tahasildar, Francesco Carli. Originally published in JMIR Research Protocols (https://www.researchprotocols.org), 06.05.2022.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in JMIR Research Protocols, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on https://www.researchprotocols.org, as well as this copyright and license information must be included.

                : 26 April 2021
                : 11 October 2021
                : 24 December 2021
                : 21 March 2022

                prehabilitation,telehealth,functional capacity,cancer care,exercise,malnutrition,psychosocial support


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