Publication Details

M. Berger, T. Stevermuer & F. Simmonds, "Focussing on cancer rehabilitation in Australia. AROC data 2007-2008", 2009 AFRM/NIRR/NZRA Rehabilitation Conference: Working Together Across the Lifespan. Australasian Faculty of Rehabilitation, New Zealand, (2009) 36-36.


The Australasian Rehabilitation Outcomes Centre (AROC) has been collecting a national rehabilitation data set in Australia since 2002 for the purposes of national benchmarking to improve outcomes in both the public and the private sectors. During 2007 a review of the FIMTM Impairment Codes - Aus included the renaming of the old code 16 "Debility" to "Reconditioning/Restorative". Three classes within this impairment were introduced - reconditioning post surgical management, reconditioning post medical management and cancer rehabilitation (for patients who have become deconditioned as a result of their cancer or treatment for cancer). A category for cancer rehabilitation was included to reflect the changing clinical landscape; increasing numbers of patients are surviving for longer periods post cancer diagnosis and treatment. The aim of rehabilitation for these patients is no different from other comprehensive multi-disciplinary rehabilitation programs for chronic conditions. The cancer program aims to limit the effects of the cancer whilst improving functional outcomes according to patient goals. However, an increased focus on psychological support, improvement in quality of life and a timely return to the highest level of accommodation possible may be evident in the program. This paper will describe the fi rst 18 months of Cancer Rehabilitation data collected from 86 rehabilitation services across Australia. Preliminary data covering the time period 1 July 2007 to 31 December 2008 suggests that cancer rehabilitation accounts for 1% of all impairments in Australia, with the 648 episodes split relatively evenly between males (314) and females (334). Average age of males is 73.5 and 75.4 for females with an overall average of 74.5. The average length of stay for males is 17.2 and females 15.5, with a total average of 16.3 days. The average FIM admission score is 90.5 and 93.2 for males and females respectively, with a total average admission FIM score of 91.9. FIM change score was almost identical for both sexes with an average of 11.9. 73.7% of all patients in the cancer rehabilitation impairment group were discharged back to their usual accommodation, 89.9% of which comprised of a private residence (including retirement village), 4.9% low level residential care, 2.5% high level residential care. Other discharge destinations of note include 14.7% transferred to another hospital, interim accommodation 4.28%, 1.8% Died, and 2.7% changed to acute care. The presentation will also provide data comparing rehabilitation outcomes for cancer patients with outcomes achieved for patients classified to the other two categories of Reconditioning. Whilst this data is preliminary, it starts to provide a picture of rehabilitation services provided for people with cancer. The use of benchmarking data within a cancer rehabilitation service can help to guide quality outcomes in services.