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Effectiveness of QUICATOUCH: a computerised touch screen evaluation for pain and distress in ambulatory oncology patients in Newcastle, Australia

Authors

  • Gregory Carter,

    Corresponding author
    1. Centre for Brain and Mental Health, University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia
    • Psycho-Oncology Service and Department Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry, Calvary Mater Newcastle, Australia
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  • Ben Britton,

    1. Centre for Brain and Mental Health, University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia
    2. Psycho-Oncology Service, Calvary Mater Newcastle, NSW, Australia
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  • Kerrie Clover,

    1. Centre for Brain and Mental Health, University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia
    2. Psycho-Oncology Service, Calvary Mater Newcastle, NSW, Australia
    3. School of Psychology, University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia
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  • Kerry Rogers,

    1. Psycho-Oncology Service, Calvary Mater Newcastle, NSW, Australia
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  • Catherine Adams,

    1. Psycho-Oncology Service, Calvary Mater Newcastle, NSW, Australia
    2. School of Medicine and Public Health, Centre for Brain and Mental Health and School of Psychology, University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia
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  • Patrick McElduff

    1. CReDITSS, Hunter Medical Research Institute, School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia
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Department Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry, Locked Bag 7, Hunter Regional Mail Centre, 2310 NSW, Australia. E-mail: gregory.carter@newcastle.edu.au

Abstract

Objective

To describe the change in pain and distress over time to demonstrate the effectiveness of the QUICATOUCH program in an outpatient oncology population.

Methods

Descriptive study of the first 29 months of the QUICATOUCH program (13 736 assessments for 5775 patients). A longitudinal cohort design was used to examine the patients with three or more assessments (8129 assessments for 1778 patients). Effectiveness of this complex intervention (repeated assessment, clinician report and referral to speciality psycho-oncology service) was examined using: reduction in proportion over threshold for pain and distress, predictors of mean pain and distress scores and comparison of the number of new patients treated by the psycho-oncology service during the study and in the preceding 29 months.

Results

Pain and distress declined during the study. The risk of being over threshold at endpoint was reduced for pain (odds ratio (OR) 0.70, confidence interval (CI) 95% 0.60–0.81) and for distress (OR 0.58 CI 95% 0.49–0.68) with baseline as referent level. Three variables predicted the mean pain: clinic type, current radiotherapy treatment and distress score; and five predicted mean distress: time, gender, clinic type, age and pain score. There was an increase of 40% (533v747) in new patients treated by the psycho-oncology service.

Conclusions

The QUICATOUCH assessment for pain and distress was implemented into usual clinical practice with reasonable coverage of patients for modest cost. It was effective in monitoring the patients over time, contributed to a reduction in pain and distress, whilst appropriately increasing the number of new patients reaching psychological treatment as part of the clinical service. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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