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Access to Pediatric Oncology Rehabilitation in Latin America: perception of healthcare providers
  • Pia Delano B.,
  • Rodrigo Lopez
Pia Delano B.
Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile Escuela de Medicina
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Rodrigo Lopez
Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile Escuela de Medicina
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Abstract

Background The role of cancer rehabilitation is key in maintaining functional abilities and improving quality of life. Rehabilitation is a component of the CureALL program, which aims to achieve at least 60% survival for children with cancer globally while ensuring that suffering is reduced for every child with cancer. The demand for pediatric cancer rehabilitation will increase as the life expectancy of these children improves, but not all countries in Latin America are prepared. With the support of Sociedad Latinoamericana de Oncologia Pediatrica (SLAOP), the aims were (1) identify the availability of rehabilitation services for children and adolescent with cancer in Latin America; (1.1) identify the rehabilitation services and the comprehensive approach they have (physical, psychological, cognitive, social); (1.2) identify the rehabilitation healthcare professional that work with pediatric oncology; and (2) explore the barriers of access and opportunity that exists in Latin-America regarding rehabilitation of children and adolescents with cancer. Methods A survey was sent to all members of the 21 countries of SLAOP. The survey had questions regarding different aspects of rehabilitation, access, and barriers. Results Out of the 21 countries who are members of SLAOP, we had responses from 19 with a total of n=123 responses. Most healthcare providers (98.4%) know the importance of rehabilitation in pediatric oncology, and 86.2% had rehabilitation teams. Only 19 respondents said they had pediatric oncology rehabilitation educational programs. Barriers to access rehabilitation were reported by 83% providers: Approachability (n=25), Acceptability (n=4), Availability (n=76), Affordability (n=35), Appropriateness (n=24) The main barriers associated with availability were distance (n=31) and lack of health care professionals (n=39). Conclusions While the importance of pediatric oncology rehabilitation is known in Latin America, there are many factors that act as barriers to access to care for children and adolescents with cancer. It is key to address these barriers to improve the quality of life of Latin American pediatric oncology patients.