Poster Presentation COSA-IPOS Joint Scientific Meeting 2012

Cancer patients’ opinions of psychosocial screening. (#442)

Josette JEHM Hoekstra-Weebers 1 2 , James JC Coyne 2 3 , Harry HBM van de Wiel 2
  1. Comprehensive Cancer Center Netherlands, Groningen, the Netherlands
  2. Wenckebach Institute, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands
  3. Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Aims: The current study investigates cancer patients’ opinions on psychosocial screening using the Distress Thermometer (DT) and Dutch Problem List (PL).
Methods: all cancer patients consecutively visiting out-patient oncology clinics in 6 hospitals in North-East the Netherlands were asked to complete questions on the DT/PL, communication about the response pattern, and referral. Descriptive and correlational analyses were computed.

Results: Of the 550 cancer patients approached, 302 participated (55%). Four-fifths replied they completed a DT/PL; 33% once, 31% twice, 36% between 3-8 times. Percentages of respondents (totally) agreeing that the DT/PL were: useful for my medical specialist/nurse=91%; suitable for its purpose=88%; easy to complete=81%; useful for myself=79%; pleasant=76%; difficult to encircle a number on the DT=66%; burdensome=31%; difficult=30%; time-consuming=29%. Of the respondents, 67% (totally) agreed that DT/PL completion gave them insight into problems they experienced and 56% into severity of these problems; 59% that it helped in the communication with the health care provider and 43% in the communication with relevant others. Seventy-eight percent would recommend others to complete the DT/PL. No significant relationships were found between DT score or the number of times the instrument was completed and any of these opinions. Seventy-two percent replied that the response pattern on the DT/PL had been discussed with them. Ninety-five percent answered that communication was with a nurse and 93% of patients was (very) satisfied. Of the respondents, 60% responded that psychosocial or allied health professional care was offered but not needed, 24% that care was not offered and not needed, 15% that care was offered and needed, and 1% that care was needed but not offered.

Conclusion: cancer patients were mainly positive in evaluating the DT/PL, indicated that communication with staff took place in almost three-quarter of the cases, and that referral was in accordance with patients’ needs.