Our discussion continues on the importance of strength-building for patients with cancer with Dr. Andrew Chongaway, PT, and Dr. Shai Sewell, PT. Providing exercise programs that support strength-building at every stage of their journey is essential. Being sedentary can slow healing and recovery. Because of this, it is critical to develop a program that is tailored to the needs of each patient.
Simple, interesting programs are more likely to hold a patient’s interest and commitment. The plan doesn’t need to be structured, just easy to follow and able to accommodate different stages in the patient’s journey. A physical therapist should engage the patient during the session and find ways to make it more fun.
Exercise can be made more interesting with music. It keeps people motivated and engaged. You are strengthening your relationship by allowing your patient to share with you what they enjoy about music. It also creates a distraction, making exercises easier. They can then push a little harder when the effects of their treatment begin to manifest.
You will be able to empower your patients by creating trust, listening to how the plan is feeling in their body, and connecting with them on a more personal level. If you ask them how an exercise feels during and after the session, you can help them judge their dosage of exercise according to how they are currently feeling. One of the most important things is teaching them how to monitor their intensity so they can continue their progress at home.
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Reserve-based rating of RPE & resistance training: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4961270/
Cluster sets: https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-021-01455-4
About Dr. Andrew Chongaway, PT
Andrew Chongaway is a Physical Therapist at Beaumont Health Royal Oak Hospital where he practices in the outpatient and acute care settings and a recent graduate of the Beaumont Health Oncology Rehabiliation Residency in Michigan. He is a Board-Certified Oncology Clinical Specialist, Certiifed Exercise Physiclogist, and Certified Cancer Exercise Trainer. With his knowledge background in exercise testing and prescription and oncology rehabilitation he was selected to author the Exercise Testing and Prescription chapter in Oncology Rehabilitation: A Comprehensive Guidebook for Clinicians, 1st edition that will be published in 2022.
About Dr. Shai Sewell, PT
Shai’s interest in oncology rehabilitation began prior to starting physical therapy school, when his mom was was diagnosed with cancer. Seeing the effects of exercise not only on her physical health, but mental well-being drove Shai to explore the benefits that rehabilitation and exercise can have throughout the cancer care continuum.
While studying at the University of Miami to obtain his Doctorate in Physical Therapy, he was fortunate to intern at the University of Florida, Shands Medical Plaza where he assessed and treated breast, and head and neck cancer patients undergoing a multitude of cancer treatment related sequela. After graduating from PT school in 2018, Shai began his career at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami where he worked with the hematological oncological population undergoing stem cell transplants. With experience in this setting, his love for cancer rehabilitation only further grew.
During this time, he began a Special Interest Group for University of Miami students to help highlight the importance of cancer rehabilitation, and to spark curiosity in an ever-growing field. He has also been active in the Academy of Oncologic Physical Therapy, where he hopes to educate students, clinicians, and physical therapy schools across the country on the importance of cancer rehabilitation. Shai has recently moved to the University of Florida, Shands Cancer Center where he continues to work in the bone marrow transplant unit and with hematological malignancies during inpatient chemotherapy. With his passion for raising awareness to new therapists and improving access to care for those diagnosed with cancer, Shai hopes to create a field where empowerment takes reign over a life-changing diagnosis.
Find Shai on Twitter!