Brief Distress Screening in Clinical Practice : Does it Help to Effectively Allocate Psycho-Oncological Support to Female Cancer Inpatients?

Faculty/Professorship: Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy  
Author(s): Hermelink, Kerstin; Höhn, Henrik; Hasmüller, Stephan; Gallwas, Julia; Härtl, Kristin ; Würstlein, Rachel; Köhm, Janna
Title of the Journal: Breast care : multidisciplinary journal for research, diagnosis and therapy
ISSN: 1661-3791
Publisher Information: Basel : Karger
Year of publication: 2014
Volume: 9
Issue: 22
Pages: 129-133
Language(s): English
DOI: 10.1159/000360788
Background: The usefulness of distress screening in cancer inpatient settings has rarely been investigated. This study evaluated a brief distress screening of inpatients in a breast cancer centre and a gynaecological cancer centre. Patients and Methods: Hospitalised patients with breast or gynaecological cancers were screened with the Distress Thermometer. Patients who scored above the cut-off, were referred by the medical staff, or self-referred were offered bedside psycho-oncological counselling. Results: Of 125 patients, 68 (54.4%) received an offer of counselling, and 62 patients (49.6%) accepted. Most of the counselling was induced by distress screening. Only 4 (3.2%) patients self-referred to the counselling service. Of the counselled patients, 65.8% stated that they had substantially benefited from psycho-oncological support; only 5.6% of the non-counselled patients indicated that they might have benefited from psycho-oncological support. Conclusion: Almost all patients who will accept and benefit from psycho-oncological counselling can be identified if distress screening is used in conjunction with referrals by physicians and nurses. Distress screening is a worthwhile component in a framework of psycho-oncological support in a cancer inpatient setting. It paves the way to counselling for cancer inpatients who need it and are willing to accept it but hesitate to self-refer to psycho-oncological services.
Keywords: Psychosocial distress, Distress screening, Counselling, Distress Thermometer, Psycho-Oncology
Type: Article
Year of publication: 19. August 2015