The goal of this innovative psychosocial oncology educational initiative is to educate participants through the Distress Screening Curriculum to adopt, implement, and maintain programs for routine distress screening of patients in treatment for cancer in their respective cancer-care facilities. Five components comprise a comprehensive distress screening program: using a validated, sensitive measure for identifying distressed patients;assessing patients for sources of their distress;referring patients and families to needed psychosocial services;following up on referrals for the coordination of psychosocial services with biomedical cancer care services;and using quality improvement to assure the program's effectiveness.
Specific aims are to: 1) develop the Distress Screening Curriculum and implement it through workshops and eLearning activities to a total of 180 multidisciplinary participants in 90 diverse practice settings in psychosocial cancer care;2) evaluate the impact of and participants'satisfaction with the Distress Screening Curriculum on participants'achievement of their goals and program outcomes;and 3) assess the reach, effectiveness, adoption, implementation, and maintenance (utilizing the RE-AIM model) of this cancer education program on achieving the new quality care standard of using distress screening to ensure the provision of appropriate psychosocial health services for patients in treatment for cancer. To guarantee the widest reach through sustained implementation and maintenance of participants'screening programs, the Curriculum will be delivered over 24 months. In the Curriculum's first year, it will include an introductory workshop and quarterly videoconferences, and in the second year, an advanced workshop and semiannual videoconferences. It will be delivered to cohorts of dyads composed of two individuals from the same cancer-care facility who represent different professional practice disciplines, such as chaplaincy, nursing, oncology, psychiatry, psychology, or social work. The Curriculum will educate new 18 dyads in year 1 of the grant;and in each year of years 2-5 of the grant, it will educate 18 new dyads and 18 returning dyads. This represents a total of 180 new participants over the five years. It also represents a total of 324 workshop seats occupied and eLearning spaces filled over the five-year funding period (36 x 1 year + 72 x 4 years). Assessment will include the program's reach and effectiveness and participants'adoption, implementation, and maintenance of distress screening programs. The investigators will partner with the American Psychosocial Oncology Society to implement the training program during the grant period and to sustain it once the grant period has ended. This educational program will improve the delivery of psychosocial health services and significantly advance knowledge of best practices for integrating state-of-the-science psychosocial oncology care with biomedical oncology care across participants'practice settings.

Public Health Relevance

People living with cancer may experience distress at such critical times as at diagnosis, at the end of treatment, or when cancer recurs. Even though over a third of all patients with cancer report that this distress is significant and one of their greatst concerns, it often goes unrecognized and untreated. This program will educate cancer care professionals on how to put into place a robust process for recognizing and treating patients with cancer who experience significant distress.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Education Projects (R25)
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Subcommittee G - Education (NCI)
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Korczak, Jeannette F
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Yale University
Schools of Nursing
New Haven
United States
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