The Importance and Benefits of Distress Screening
Distress is caused by different problems, symptoms or by different concerns. However, how distress is experienced and on what underlies the distress of a person is unique for every person and this will change over time. Distress screening will also help clinicians in identifying patients who are distressed and also on their problems, symptoms or concerns that drive their distress. Research, in fact, shows that through a clinical review and also on a targeted response on the priority issue of patients, it has helped to improve clinical outcomes and the experience which patients would achieve.
In order to examine the impact of distress on patients as well as on healthcare professionals, different health services and healthcare professionals led on the implementation of screening on distress as new standards of care in different provincial cancer care sites. There also are hundreds of healthcare professionals in different cancer care facilities who participated in educational sessions and also have used such standard practice.
The results of the project also show a significant increase in the confidence of the participants to identify, assess and manage distress and their awareness on a person-centered care principle that follows the implementation. The healthcare professionals in smaller cancer centers also show amazing awareness to every person compared with those who are at large tertiary sites. Another thing is that healthcare professionals in small sites identified different benefits through distress screening interventions that are relative with healthcare professionals in larger sites.
In smaller cancer centers, they have patient navigation as a part of their model of care. Physicians also are treating different tumor types. These would be likely in contributing to good patient and provider relationships. Also, the benefits of distress screening are more salient on healthcare professionals who are taking care of different tumor types, which suggests that these interventions are adopted well by physicians who are practicing the general model of care. On the larger centers, they tend to be single tumor specialists who don’t employ patient navigation processes. Such participants also show low awareness in general and distress screening interventions show an added workload.
Before adequate distress screening training and also having less time on patient relationship-building processes, physicians usually lack confidence with their ability in identifying and in treating patient distress in a way that’s timely. The study also shows that distress screening interventions will help in building confidence and awareness in person-centered care, regardless of the type of care facilities available.
Another thing is that the use of a tool for distress screening which will search through emotional, spiritual, social and informational domains are very helpful. This is because it will reflect the entire patient experience. Also, the use of such tools will be able to help patients in specifying particular areas of concern which will help to facilitate meaningful interventions.
One sad fact about patient distress is that this has received less attention from clinicians. But this, however, has a large impact on the quality of life of patients. Also, screening for distress becomes more important for clinical practices, which is why information for implementation is very useful for practitioners.