Best Practices in Oncology Distress Management: Beyond the Screen.
The field of psychosocial oncology is a young discipline with a rapidly expanding evidence base. Over the past few decades, several lines of research have established that psychosocial problems, such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress, fatigue, sexual dysfunction, and cognitive complaints, are common and consequential in patients with cancer. The word "distress" was chosen deliberately to capture a broad concept; consequently, distress screening is meant to function as an initial step in the more targeted evaluation of the source(s) of the patient's distress. In 2015, the American College of Surgeons' Commission on Cancer mandated psychosocial distress screening as part of their accreditation process. Similar screening requirements are in place internationally, including in Canada, where screening for distress is endorsed as the sixth vital sign and a standard of care that must be met by any Canadian health care organization providing cancer services that seeks to be accredited. Over the past few years, cancer centers around the world have been exploring optimum ways to implement and evaluate distress screening initiatives. This paper presents three approaches to distress screening implementation: (1) a model that incorporates the importance of shared values, perceived benefits, and relevant outcomes in the implementation of distress management protocols; (2) a Canadian knowledge translation application to distress screening, including triage considerations and interventions; and (3) a novel approach to distress management via the use of a mobile application to manage post-traumatic stress symptoms. In closing, future opportunities and challenges associated with the emergence of technology will be discussed.
Smith, SK; Loscalzo, M; Mayer, C; Rosenstein, DL
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