Older patients with active cancer have favorable inpatient rehabilitation outcomes

Aaron Jason Bilek*, Oksana Borodin, Liad Carmi, Ariel Yakim, Michael Shtern, Yaffa Lerman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objectives: To investigate the characteristics and rehabilitation outcomes of older patients with active cancer (OPAC) undergoing post-acute inpatient rehabilitation (IR), and to evaluate which clinical factors are associated with poor rehabilitation outcomes. Materials and Methods: This is a retrospective study of patients aged ≥65 with active cancer undergoing IR following acute hospitalization at our tertiary hospital centre (N = 330). We collected data on patient, malignancy, and hospitalization characteristics, and IR outcomes including function, mobility, discharge destination, and mortality. Multivariate stepwise logistic regression was used to identify independent associations with the composite outcome of death within three months or discharge to long-term care (LTC). Results: Patient mean age was 80.1 ± 7.2 years. The most common malignancies were colon (30.9%) and hematologic (16.1%). Most patients were hospitalized urgently (64.8%) and underwent surgery (72.4%). From IR admission to discharge, patients ambulating independently increased from 14.0% to 52.0%. Discharge destination was to the community (80.4%), to LTC (7.6%), and transfer to an acute ward (7.2%), while 4.8% died during IR. One-year survival was 62.1%. The composite outcome was met by 24.8% of patients with multivariate logistic regression revealing independent associations (p < 0.05) with high baseline dependency, metastatic disease, low mobility score on IR admission, complications during acute care, and ≥ 75th percentile values for lactate dehydrogenase and alkaline phosphatase. Conclusion: OPAC have favorable IR outcomes including high rate of community discharge, function and mobility gains, and lower mortality rates when compared with previously studied cancer rehabilitation populations. We identified several clinical markers associated with the composite outcome, which can guide post-acute discharge planning in patients with an unclear prognosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)799-807
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Geriatric Oncology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • Cancer rehabilitation
  • Geriatric oncology
  • Geriatric rehabilitation
  • Palliative rehabilitation
  • Post-acute care


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