Physical activity has many benefits for physical and mental health. Pre-adaptation interventions in physical activity (pre-treatment) bring greater benefits to the patient than rehabilitation interventions (post-treatment). Multimodal preadaptation targets several components, usually physical activity, nutrition and psychosocial support. In the context of COVID-19, many oncology teams have had to adapt quickly to transfer face-to-face services to telehealth interventions. The telehealth modality has rapidly become a key solution for prehabilitation, facilitating rapid patient care from the moment of diagnosis and minimizing accessibility barriers such as transportation costs, parking costs, lack of time, etc. COVID-19 also highlighted the essential role of family caregivers. Caregiver support has a positive impact on patients’ cancer experience, reduces the burden on the healthcare system and plays a key role in the adoption and maintenance of healthy lifestyle habits such as physical activity. Regular physical activity is also a strategy to help caregivers take care of their own health and support their loved ones. Our team is proposing to develop Co-ACTIF, the first supervised tele-rehabilitation program that combines group physical activity sessions with an educational program for cancer patients and their caregivers.
The aim of this project is to assess the implantability of Co-ACTIF (i.e. the likelihood of the intervention being adopted into routine cancer care and the lifestyle of patients and their caregivers). We will then explore the preliminary effects of the intervention on physical and mental health indicators for patients and family caregivers.
The project will be carried out in three regions of Quebec: Montreal, Sherbrooke and Chicoutimi. The intervention will include an exercise component – synchronous supervised group physical activity sessions for patients and family caregivers, and an interactive online educational component offering asynchronous training and discussion opportunities on a variety of relevant topics (self-management, nutrition, psychosocial support and sleep) for patients and family caregivers. We will recruit a sample of 100 units: patient and caregiver, patient or caregiver alone. Data collection includes i) a logbook, ii) kinesiology assessments, iii) questionnaires completed by participants before and after the intervention, iv) data extracted from patients’ medical records; v) interviews with patients and caregivers, and vi) interviews with the people who deliver the program.
This study will provide scientific evidence on the feasibility of implementing this intervention in real cancer care settings, and on the preliminary effects of the intervention on the physical and mental health of patients and family caregivers. The project will provide useful data for scaling up the intervention across Quebec.