Early incorporation of a distress screening tool into nurse-led oncology case management improved the rate of referrals to supportive services for patients with cancer receiving active treatment, according to results of a study published in Professional Case Management. Previous research has shown that the biological, psychological, and social needs of oncology patients are often unmet. To facilitate assessment of some of these needs, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) has developed Distress Management clinical practice guidelines that include a validated distress screening tool, the Distress Thermometer and Problem List for Patients. In this pilot retrospective, matched case-control study of patients enrolled in a large commercial health plan, the potential impact of early incorporation of the NCCN distress screening tool into the standard oncology telephone interviews conducted by oncology nurse case managers was assessed. The main purpose of the study was to determine whether referrals to available resources were increased in those patients screened for distress using the NCCN tool compared with matched controls.
Source: Cancer Therapy Advisor