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Oncology Rehabilitation

This program is for patients who have undergone major surgeries or medical treatment as a result of abdomen, gastrointestinal and other cancers. The short-stay, active program facilitates increased strength, mobility and independence to help patients return to the community after cancer.

Referrals & Admissions

Inpatient Referral Forms

Inpatient Admission Criteria

  • Medically stable with no significant fluctuations in medical status within 72 hours.
  • Motivated to participate in rehab, has active rehab goals, and is able to participate in two sessions of active rehab therapy five to seven days a week.
  • Able to sit unsupported for a minimum of 30 minutes.
  • Patient's cognitive abilities and state of mental health support participation in active rehab.
  • Prognosis has been communicated to and understood by patient (admissions exclude palliative and pre-palliative patients).
  • Completed or on hiatus from radiation and IV chemotherapy (oral chemotherapy accepted).

Special needs accommodated (on a case-by-case basis) include the following:

  • IV therapy (PICC and portacath only)
  • Intermittent oxygen therapy/home oxygen
  • Tracheotomy (must by corked)
  • Intermittent tube feeds (PEG tube only)
  • Ostomy

Outpatient Referral Forms

Download our Outpatient Referral Form on our referral information page.

Please include all relevant medical/therapy reports with your application

Outpatient Admission Criteria

  • Has active rehab goals and is able to participate and tolerate increasing amount of rehab therapy.
  • Has adequate cognitive communication abilities for rehab.
  • Has a reliable means of transportation.

Women huggingProgram Details

Referrals are accepted from hospitals and physicians throughout Ontario. St. John's Rehab's alliance with Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre ensures a smooth transition from acute care to rehab and expedites referrals, giving patients access to the care they need sooner.

The program involves multidisciplinary assessment, treatment and support focused on the whole person - body, mind and spirit. Individually customized rehabilitation programs are developed for each patient with focus on addressing complex health, social and emotional issues.

The inpatient and outpatient teams represent a full range of rehabilitation professionals and medical specialists who work with patients and their families to help them achieve a high quality of life and independence, expedite their recovery and return to the community and the workplace.

Patients can also access fee-for-service care such as massage therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic and chiropody services to complement their rehabilitation.

Referrals to the hospital's outpatient program are available, which provides a seamless continuum of rehabilitation services.

Program backgrounder

St. John's Rehab's Oncology Rehabilitation Program was developed to meet the recovery needs of patients who have undergone major surgeries and a long post-operative recovery period as a result of abdomen, gastrointestinal and other cancers.

  • The short-stay, intensive program was officially launched in April 2006, with the first patients admitted during its pilot phase in November 2005.
  • Referrals to the program are accepted from hospitals and physicians throughout Ontario.
  • The oncology program's major acute care referring partner is Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. Our alliance expedites the referral process to give patients the care they need sooner and in the right place.
  • The St. John's Rehab clinical team is specially trained to care for the unique physical and psychosocial needs of cancer survivors.
  • As part of the Complex Rehabilitation Program, we also provide rehabilitation for surgeries where cancer is a secondary diagnosis, such as major orthopaedic reconstruction and neuro-oncology.
  • Rehabilitation treatment is designed to help patients regain physical strength and mobility. Individualized, customized rehabilitation care rebuilds lives by ensuring maximum recovery, improved quality of life and a smooth transition into the community.
  • The program involves multidisciplinary assessment, treatment and support focused on the whole person - body, mind and spirit.
  • The health care system also reaps the benefits of rehab. Moving appropriate patients to a specialized rehab facility frees up urgently needed acute care beds at our partner facilities.
  • Our multidisciplinary clinical team includes physiotherapists, occupational therapists, social workers, nurses, speech-language pathologists, pharmacists, physicians, dietitians, psychologists, pharmacists, physiatrists and spiritual care.
  • Inpatient and outpatient teams each work collaboratively with patients and their families to design individually customized rehabilitation programs and to monitor progress towards each patient's specific goals.

Our oncology patients

April 2014 - March 2015

  • Patients admitted: 76
  • Outpatient visits: 221
  • Average active rehab length of stay: 21 days
  • Average age of patients: 72 years old
  • Patients aged 55 or older: 89 per cent
  • Gender of patients: 41 per cent male, 59 per cent female

Canadian cancer facts

  • According to the Canadian Cancer Society:
    • An estimated 173,800 new cases of cancer and 76,200 deaths will occur in Canada in 2010.
    • Approximately, 83,900 Canadian women will be diagnosed with cancer. About 36,200 women will die of cancer.
    • Approximately, 90,000 Canadian men will be diagnosed with cancer. About 40,000 men will die of cancer.
    • Lung, prostate, breast and colorectal cancer account for 50% of all new cancer cases every year.
    • Based on 2002-2004 estimates, the five-year relative survival ratio for all cancers combined was 62%. The highest five-year relative survival ratios were thyroid (98%) and testicular cancer (96%). The lowest ratios were those with pancreactic cancer (6%), lung (males 13%, females 17%), and esophagus (14%). For most of the cancers examined, survival was higher among women or similar between the sexes.

Location and contact

Oncology Rehabilitation Program

St. John's Rehab
285 Cummer Avenue,
Toronto, ON M2M 2G1

Phone: 416-226-6780
Fax: 416-226-5406

Email us

Program Brochure

Oncology Rehabilitation program brochure

PDF Download Download our Oncology Rehabilitation program brochure (PDF, 1.3 MB)

For referring organizations:
If you would like copies of our brochures for you and your patients, please fill out our Printed Material Request Form.