Rehabilitation programme after stem cell transplantation: randomized controlled trial


L. Bird: e-mail:


bird l., arthur a., niblock t., stone r., watson l. & cox k. (2010) Rehabilitation programme after stem cell transplantation: randomized controlled trial. Journal of Advanced Nursing66(3), 607–615.


Aim.  The aim of this study was to compare the effect of two methods of rehabilitation after stem cell transplantation on health and quality of life.

Background.  Stem cell transplantation is routinely used in the treatment of haematological malignancy. However, it is an intensive treatment often associated with deterioration in wellbeing and the need for prolonged recovery.

Methods.  During a 14-month data collection period (August 2005 to October 2006), patients who had had a stem cell transplant (n = 58) were randomly allocated to either a healthcare professional-led rehabilitation programme or a self-managed rehabilitation programme. The primary outcome measure, physical functioning as measured by the 36-item Short Form Health Survey, was recorded at baseline and 6 months after randomization. Secondary health and quality of life measures included the seven other dimensions of the 36-item Short Form Health Survey, General Health Questionnaire, Graham and Longman Quality of Life Scale and a Shuttle Walk Test.

Findings.  There was no difference in change in Short Form 36 physical functioning scores between the two groups at follow-up (mean difference 0·19 points, 95% confidence interval 10·77–11·16). No evidence of a difference between the two modes of rehabilitation was observed for any of the trial outcomes.

Conclusion.  One approach for providing a flexible service may be for staff and individual patients to work together, selecting from a series of specified options a programme with the appropriate content and duration to meet that individual’s needs.