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Original article

Vol. 145 No. 4950 (2015)

Use of inpatient rehabilitation for cancer patients in Switzerland: who undergoes cancer rehabilitation?

  • Maria Ture
  • Jürgen Barth
  • Felix Angst
  • André Aeschlimann
  • Ulrich Schnyder
  • Nic Zerkiebel
  • Josef Perseus
  • Christoph Renner
  • Patrick Imesch
  • Bruno Fuchs
  • Gerhard Frank Huber
  • Heinrich Walt
  • Chantal Martin-Soelch
  • Josef Jenewein
Cite this as:
Swiss Med Wkly. 2015;145:w14214


QUESTION UNDER STUDY: Rehabilitation for cancer patients aims to reduce physical disability and mental distress resulting from the disease and its treatment. However, little is known about the use of cancer inpatient rehabilitation in Switzerland in relation to sociodemographic and medical characteristics. The main purpose of this study was to evaluate whether there are differences in sociodemographic and medical characteristics between patients who underwent inpatient rehabilitation (users) and those who did not (nonusers).

METHODS: A total of 238 cancer patients from the University Hospital Zurich were included. The sociodemographic and medical characteristics of inpatient rehabilitation users were assessed and compared with those of nonusers. We analysed the differences between inpatient rehabilitation users and nonusers.

RESULTS: Of the patients included, 101 (42.4%) used inpatient rehabilitation. They were less likely to be employed (p = 0.029), stayed longer in hospital (p <0.001), and were more likely to have semiprivate or private supplementary health insurance (p = 0.030) than nonusers. There were differences in cancer site (p = 0.001). Patients with tumours of the digestive organs or of the thoracic organs were more likely to use rehabilitation, whereas breast cancer patients were less likely to use it. Stratified analyses showed that male patients with semiprivate or private supplementary health insurance (p = 0.037), lower education (p = 0.039), and lower likelihood of employment (p = 0.051) were more likely to use rehabilitation. Women with an advanced tumour stage used inpatient rehabilitation more often (p = 0.012).

CONCLUSIONS: Findings show the influence of duration of hospitalisation, insurance type, cancer site, employment status, and gender on the use of inpatient cancer rehabilitation. The results indicate the need of structured standardised procedures for medical referral to be implemented based on screening.


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