CSM Aquatic Programming Spotlight: Aquatic Therapy as a Component of Comprehensive Oncological Rehabilitation


Patients impacted by cancer and cancer treatment are one of the fastest-growing populations in the outpatient physical therapy setting. A patient with a history of cancer and its lingering symptoms or a patient recently diagnosed with cancer with a sequela of symptoms both require a physical therapist to utilize different, evidence-based approaches to care.

This session explores and correlates the systemic and local physiological responses occurring across the oncological recovery journey with the unique properties and potential relevance of the aquatic environment. The impact of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation is addressed, along with the implications for aquatic therapists. Red flags and treatment guidelines that support oncological rehabilitation principles are reviewed, providing the participant with safety guidelines, progression considerations, and a clear understanding of the need for skilled physical therapy intervention in all phases of cancer recovery.

A partnership and collaboration between land-based, aquatic, and telehealth physical therapy options for the oncological patient is analyzed, along with case studies and clinical outcome examples. The goal of this presentation is to inspire aquatic therapists to proactively reach out to an underserved population—the oncological rehab patient.
Holly Lookabaugh-Deur, PT, DSc is a 40+ yr. experienced physical therapist with a Bachelor of Science from UCONN; Master of Health Science from Grand Valley State University, and Doctorate of Science from Rocky Mountain University. She is a Board Certified Geriatric Clinical Specialist, Certified Edema Specialist, Certified Exercise Expert for Aging Adults, and PORi Oncology Specialist. Her current patient care interests center around aquatic interventions and oncology rehabilitation. She is currently the VP of the APTA MI Oncology SIG and leads Ivy Rehab's Oncological Specialization Program.



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