The commentaries published here on implementation of distress screening preview a special issue to appear in June on empirical aspects of screening for distress.These commentaries highlight issues for clinicians when screening for distress is implemented in to the patient care setting. Successful implementation is critical to the development of distress screening and the commentaries described are complementary to the research findings which will be published next month.
Implementing screening for distress, the 6th vital sign: a Canadian strategy for changing practice†
Article first published online: 1 APR 2011
Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Volume 20, Issue 5, pages 463–469, May 2011
How to Cite
Bultz, B. D., Groff, S. L., Fitch, M., Blais, M. C., Howes, J., Levy, K. and Mayer, C. (2011), Implementing screening for distress, the 6th vital sign: a Canadian strategy for changing practice. Psycho-Oncology, 20: 463–469. doi: 10.1002/pon.1932
- Issue published online: 31 MAR 2011
- Article first published online: 1 APR 2011
- Manuscript Accepted: 7 JAN 2011
- Manuscript Received: 5 JAN 2011
- screening for distress;
- practice change;
Objective: Distress is prevalent among cancer patients at all stages of illness and has been endorsed as the 6th Vital Sign in cancer care. Despite its prevalence, and calls to be monitored, few cancer programs are Screening for Distress in a standardized manner. In this paper, the implementation strategy employed in Canada to change practice by integrating Screening for Distress in routine care is described.
Methods: The process from inception of the concept of distress to the implementation of Screening for Distress is discussed. Pioneering work pertinent in laying the foundation for Screening for Distress as a National initiative is highlighted. Additionally, the experience of four jurisdictions currently Screening for Distress is utilized to demonstrate steps to successful implementation and strategies for overcoming challenges.
Results: Integrating Screening for Distress into practice requires endorsements from key stakeholders, developing and disseminating national recommendations and guidelines, and utilizing a coordinated and standardized method focused on practice change. At a local level successful implementations engage stakeholders, provide thorough and targeted education, establish interprofesionnal teams, and utilize a phased approach to implementation. Common challenges cited include time, buy-in and lack of resources.
Conclusions: Establishing a national approach to implementing Screening for Distress is both feasible and beneficial. A coordinated approach encourages collaboration beyond the walls of any particular center and provides the opportunity for all patients to be provided with improved person-centered care. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.