Oncology Rehabilitation Referral Audit

Mrs Alicia Boyd1

1St John Of God Warrnambool Hospital, Warrnambool, Australia


Oncology Rehabilitation has been thoroughly endorsed in the literature with peak bodies, Clinical Oncology Society of Australia (COSA) and the Cancer Council, recommending allied health guided exercise as best practice.


Patient Administration System (PAS) data for “reportable cancers” and Oncology Rehabilitation clinic admissions, at St John of God Warrnambool Hospital (SJGWH) during 2017-2018, was assessed.  Patients admitted for plastic surgery were screened due to the curative nature of many of these procedures.


  • Patients identified through PAS report n=870
  • Total eligible patients n=382
  • n=27 (7%) attended Inpatient Oncology Rehabilitation
  • n=23 (6%) attended Outpatient Oncology Rehabilitation

(plus n=20 referred from external sources, totalling n=43)

  • n=9 (2%) attended both inpatient and Outpatient Oncology Rehabilitation

Therefore, a total of n=41 (11%) SJGWH patients attended Oncology Rehabilitation during 2017-2018.


Despite the intention to implement best practice, delivery of this service is not effective.  This is well below the acknowledged 20-29% of patients who meet the recommended COSA exercise guidelines.

Insights into the patient types attending cannot be reliably concluded due to sample size.  However, of the n=23 patients attending Outpatient Oncology Rehabilitation, n=22 have a “Malignant” admitting diagnosis.


As per the COSA position statement; all members of the multidisciplinary cancer team should promote physical activity and recommend people with cancer adhere to exercise guidelines.

Opportunities to enable this include:

  • Entire referral pathway review.
  • Creation of PAS reports to monitor eligibility and attendance.
  • Review of cancer related Medical Record forms to include Oncology Rehabilitation references.


Alicia Boyd is a Senior Clinician Physiotherapist at St John of God Warrnambool Hospital.

Working primarily in the management of lymphoedema, as an Australasian Lymphology Association accredited practitioner, she leads the provision of lymphoedema services.

Alicia is passionate about delivering best practice care to her regional community, embracing new technologies, and achieving excellent patient outcomes.

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