East Lansing, Michigan - Nursing researcher Amy Hoffman saw first-hand how difficult it was for non-small cell lung cancer patients to make the move from the hospital to their home after having grueling surgery to address their cancer. She also realized that there were no guidelines for routine rehabilitative support following lung cancer surgeries and wanted to help. So she applied for a grant from the National Cancer Institute and went about designing a program that could help patients get back on their feet more quickly.
The novel thing about Hoffman’s program is that it involves the use of a Nintendo Wii and the game console’s Fit Plus game, explains a press release issued by Michigan State University, where Hoffman is on the faculty of the College of Nursing.
The rehab program designed by Hoffman, explains the article, promotes “light-intensity, self-paced walking and balance exercise to address cancer-related fatigue.” Most importantly, it allows patients to exercise in their own home, therefore eliminating issues related to travel, bad weather, or other stumbling blocks to rehabilitation.
Specifically, Hoffman designed the program to help patients avoid two of the most common problems related to surgery for a variety of kinds of lung cancer, including mesothelioma. These include lung collapse and pneumonia.
Hoffman says the program is “built on successes.” The exercise gradually increases in duration and allows patients to set their own exercise goals. Because the format is fun, she notes, it helps patients to limit their focus on the unpleasant symptoms often associated with exercise after surgery. A pilot study confirmed Hoffman’s belief in the program.
“The virtual exercise intervention was found to be safe and highly acceptable, with patients stating they would recommend the program to others like themselves undergoing surgery for NSCLC,” she said.