Role of Physiotherapy in Hospice Care of Patients with Advanced Cancer: A Systematic Review

Prina Vira, Stephen Rajan Samuel, Sampath Kumar Amaravadi, PU Prakash Saxena, Santosh Rai PV, Jestina Rachel Kurian, Rachita Gururaj

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To review the role of physiotherapy and its effects in hospice care of patients with advanced cancer. Methods: A comprehensive literature search was performed in PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, CINAHL and PEDro. The search strategy was devised, articles were screened, and 2 independent reviewers conducted data extraction. Eligible studies were methodologically assessed for quality rating using modified Downs and Black’s checklist. The extracted data was summarized according to site/stage of cancer, details of intervention, outcome measures and the results. Result: The total number of screened articles were 2102, out of which 9 were identified as suitable for the purposes of comprehensive review. The studies included exercise therapy, massage therapy, relaxation therapy, compression bandaging and use of TENS as the various physiotherapy interventions under consideration. Studies were generally of low to moderate quality. A broad range of outcomes were employed including physical symptoms like loss of function, pain, fatigue, edema, sleep disturbances and quality of life. The findings of the studies supported the benefits of the interventions. Conclusion: A structured exercise protocol, massage therapy, TENS and compression bandaging are useful in alleviating the symptoms experienced by patients with advanced cancer in hospice care. The reduced symptom burden has reflected as an improvement in their quality of life. However, there is a further need for high quality studies to strengthen the findings of this review.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)503-511
JournalAmerican Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 05-2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)


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