Managing Referrals

Understand who may participate in Cancer Rehabilitation and how to involve them in your program.

Who can attend an Oncology Rehabilitation Program?

  • Anyone with a primary diagnosis of cancer
  • People who want to improve their level of functioning, such as those who struggle with cancer related fatigue and deconditioning
  • People who are alert and can follow exercise instructions
  • People who are medically fit to participate in exercise

Patients who have a significant cognitive impairment, unstable cardiovascular disease, significant musculoskeletal, cardiorespiratory or neurological condition that prevents exercise may not be appropriate to participate (for further information see Safety and Screening)

Referrals to an Oncology Rehabilitation Program may be made by:

  • General practitioners
  • Allied Health staff
  • Community health professionals
  • Medical specialists (oncologists, haematologists, surgeons)
  • Nursing staff
  • Patients themselves

Referrals from health professionals can be facilitated by sending a referral form to the program coordinator. However, to remove barriers to referral, simple pathways such as providing client details via a central email address or e-referral may be utilised. If a patient self-refers to the program, their eligibility may be checked with their general practitioner or medical specialist.

Following referral to the program, the patient is contacted to arrange an assessment. Contact can be via a phone call or invitation letter/email.

The invitation letter should include:

  • An explanation that the patient has been referred to the program
  • Details of the program (brochure)
  • Location/time of assessment appointment
  • Options for parking and transport


People with cancer have varied needs that range in complexity. For example, somebody who has low confidence to exercise and is very deconditioned from their cancer treatment may require more intensive rehabilitation support than somebody who has minimal side-effects from their treatment and has exercised before. The CaReR Framework explains how you might decide what type of program to send your patient:


Another decision making algorithm can also be found here