Barriers in the Application Process for Oncological Rehabilitation
A Nationwide Expert Study
From the perspective of various expert groups involved in the care of oncological patients, barriers to the application process of oncological rehabilitation programs will be identified. The study was funded by the German Pension Insurance Association (DRV
Based on an interview study (N=61), a questionnaire instrument with 55 items describing possible barriers in the application process was designed and implemented online. Participants with more than 33% missing values were excluded from the analyses. Mean value analyses were used to identify the most significant relevance. To identify overall dimensions an explorative factor analysis was conducted.
A total of 606 experts from the oncological field were included in the analyses. Among them were 249 doctors, 194 social workers, 105 nurses / medical assistants, 55 psychologists / psycho-oncologists and three other professional groups. The queried experts were on average 51 years old (SD=10.4) and had been working in the oncological field for 17 years (SD=9.8). The barriers could be assigned to the following seven factor-analytically determined content sections: coping style, application procedure, rehabilitation requirements, coordination, social responsibilities, desires of patient and the priority of rehabilitation. According to the experts statements the main obstacles to an application were the patient’s desire for normality, the rigid deadline for the application and the application procedure which is difficult for patients with a migration background to understand. It was also pointed out that it is difficult to place multimorbid patients in rehabilitation facilities.
The following recommendations for action to facilitate access to rehabilitation can be derived from the expert study: optimization of the coordination between different expert groups, institutions and the cost units, flexibilisation of the deadline for follow-up, simplifying the application process, providing applications/information material in additional languages, orienting rehabilitation clinics towards specific patient groups.