Pilot study of a telehealth perioperative physical activity intervention for older adults with cancer and their caregivers

Kelly J. Lafaro, Dan J. Raz, Jae Y. Kim, Sherry Hite, Nora Ruel, Gouri Varatkar, Loretta Erhunmwunsee, Laleh Melstrom, Byrne Lee, Gagandeep Singh, Yuman Fong, Virginia Sun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Older adults undergoing cancer surgery are at greater risk for poor postoperative outcomes. Caregivers also endure significant burden. Participation in perioperative physical activity may improve physical functioning and enhance overall well-being for both patients and caregivers. In this study, we assessed the feasibility of a personalized telehealth intervention to enhance physical activity for older (≥ 65 years) gastrointestinal (GI) and lung cancer surgery patients/caregivers. Methods: Participants completed four telehealth sessions with physical therapy/occupational therapy (PT/OT) before surgery and up to 2 weeks post-discharge. Outcomes included preop geriatric assessment, functional measures, and validated measures for symptoms and psychological distress. Pre/post-intervention trends/trajectories for outcomes were explored. Results: Thirty-four patient/caregiver dyads (16, GI; 18, lung) were included. Accrual rate was 76% over 8 months; retention rate was 88% over 2 months. Median for postop of a 6-min walk test, timed up and go, and short physical performance battery test scores improved from baseline to postop. Participant satisfaction scores were high. Conclusion: Our conceptually based, personalized, multimodal, telehealth perioperative physical activity intervention for older patient/caregiver dyads is feasible and acceptable. It offers an opportunity to improve postoperative outcomes by promoting functional recovery through telehealth, behavior change, and self-monitoring approaches. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3867-3876
Number of pages10
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020


  • Family caregiver
  • Geriatrics
  • Physical activity
  • Telehealth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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