Barriers and facilitators to cancer rehabilitation for patients with head and neck or lung cancer—a scoping review mapping structural and healthcare professionals’ perspectives

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Purpose: Rehabilitation can positively affect quality of life, functional status, and physiological status for patients with head and neck or lung cancer. However, barriers and facilitators regarding access, referral, and participation in rehabilitation have not been outlined in the literature either from a healthcare professional or from a structural perspective. Therefore, the objective of this paper was to identify and map barriers and facilitators from structural and healthcare professionals’ perspectives in relation to access, referral, and participation in rehabilitation for patients with head and neck or lung cancer. Materials and methods: Two systematic searches were conducted in five databases mapping peer-reviewed research literature. Results: In total, 17 studies of 3918 potential sources were included. Seven themes were identified. Four themes concerned access: Understanding Patients’ Resources; Collaboration Determining Access; Education, Knowledge, and Evidence Impact Access to Rehabilitation; and Resources Affecting Availability to Rehabilitation Services. Two themes concerned referral: Referral Criteria; and Elements Affecting Referral Pathway. One theme concerned participation: Factors Influencing Participation. Conclusion: From structural and healthcare professionals’ perspectives, barriers and facilitators impact access, referral and participation in rehabilitation. However, the findings on facilitators were limited; only one theme addressed participation and two findings concerned patients with low socioeconomic status.IMPLICATIONS FOR REHABILITATION Healthcare professionals should be mindful that a diverse array of barriers and facilitators may impact the rehabilitation pathway for patients with head, neck, and lung cancer. Engagement by healthcare professionals and structural initiatives are needed to ensure comprehensive access to information concerning rehabilitation options. Local guidelines should be developed to prescribe methods for informing and guiding patients towards suitable rehabilitation options. It is important that healthcare professionals take the individual patient’s resources into account when navigating aspects of access, referral, and participation in rehabilitation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
Number of pages13
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

    Research areas

  • access, head and neck cancer, health system, healthcare professional, lung cancer, participation, referral, Rehabilitation

ID: 374829938