Enabling tele-rehabilitation to help children and adolescents with cancer in Chile

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Apr 26, 2021
By the Philips Foundation team
In partnership with Philips Chile, Philips Foundation is supporting the Nuestros Hijos Foundation by enabling tele-rehabilitation and safe transfer for children and adolescents with cancer to reduce their chances of exposure to COVID-19. Even after the pandemic, tele-rehabilitation will continue to play an essential role in providing care for children with a higher immune risk who cannot travel to treatment centers.
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With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in Chile, the Nuestros Hijos Foundation had to adapt their program to continue delivering their services to cancer patients with a higher immune risk than the average population. These services include maintaining rehabilitation therapies, which play a vital role in treating the disease, its long-term effects, and the reintegration of children into society.


The current pandemic precipitated the project that was already in the plans of the Nuestros Hijos Foundation, in the form of a children’s oncology tele-rehabilitation program. The program has been very successful because it has allowed parents to be closely involved in the work of the therapists. And being able to closely monitor the prognosis of their children's disease, parental support during life-changing moments can be important.


“With this project, we hope to make a significant impact by making meaningful technology available to children in remote areas and reach sectors that currently have no access to this type of technology due to the pandemic, and bring about a change in healthcare, said Pablo Norese, Country Leader at Philips Chile. “Tele-rehabilitation is a concrete solution that will allow us to move forward and better prepare the country for future crises.”


Marcela Zubieta, president of the Nuestros Hijos Foundation (FNH), noted that “these programs will impact 75% of children with cancer in Chile, helping the FNH to provide them with continued comprehensive support in an effort to increase their life expectancy, improve their well-being and thus reduce the psychosocial impact of the disease on both children and their families.”


Last year, FNH’s cancer rehabilitation center served more than 190 children and adolescents, and an additional 150 are expected to benefit from this project. Tele-rehabilitation will also make a difference for patients from other regions of the country who often have to travel to Santiago for their treatments.

With this project, we hope to make a significant impact by making meaningful technology available to children in remote areas and reach sectors that currently have no access to this type of technology due to the pandemic

Pablo Norese

Country Leader at Philips Chile

“This is an expanding process that is marking a milestone in rehabilitation in our country,” Zubieta says, adding that due to the current crisis caused by COVID-19 and its related economic problems, the ability to continue providing these services became increasingly difficult, hence the importance of these collaborations.


The support also covers a new concept called “Safe Transfer,” which allows the purchase of a van to transport children who need to travel to the cancer rehabilitation center or for other medical consultations. The service includes a driver, and children are transported with minimal exposure.


It is worth highlighting that in Chile, there are about a thousand children and adolescents in active cancer treatment today. Although the survival rate can reach 78%, eight out of ten of these survivors may have physical or cognitive implications that must be treated comprehensively. 


FNH has built an extensive support network in more than 30 years, ensuring that all children and adolescents with cancer in Chile have the same opportunities. To date, they have supported more than 16,000 children and provided at least one type of service in 100% of the nation’s child cancer units, leading to a total of more than 100,000 services per year.

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