Spiritual care and chaplaincy have been part of the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines) for Distress Management since the first meeting of the panel in 1997, possibly the first time this degree of spiritual care and chaplaincy care integration occurred in cancer care. Since that time, the chaplaincy care section of the guidelines, especially chaplain assessment categories derived from a spiritual care assessment, have provided a major resource for healthcare chaplaincy and have served as a model for integrating chaplaincy into the overall team practice of healthcare. However, this section of the NCCN Guidelines has not been substantially updated since it was originally written. During those 20 years, the practice of healthcare chaplaincy and the research that supports it have grown substantially. In the last year, at the request of the panel, we have updated the chaplaincy care section to fully integrate recently published evidence in spiritual care in healthcare, adding more value to this important set of guidelines. Those updates appear in the 2019 version of the NCCN Guidelines. This article discusses the history of chaplaincy involvement in the NCCN Guidelines for Distress Management and the precedent it set for the integration of chaplaincy in other efforts that followed. Integration of this section of the Guidelines into the spiritual care practice at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center is presented as an example of how these guidelines can be put into practice to improve patient care. Finally, a summary of the recent research by Drs. Kenneth Pargament and Julie Exline is presented as the foundation for the revised chaplain assessment categories and interventions.
George Handzo, Jill M. Bowden and Stephen King
Jimmie C. Holland, Barbara Andersen, William S. Breitbart, Bruce Compas, Moreen M. Dudley, Stewart Fleishman, Caryl D. Fulcher, Donna B. Greenberg, Carl B. Greiner, George F. Handzo, Laura Hoofring, Paul B. Jacobsen, Sara J. Knight, Kate Learson, Michael H. Levy, Matthew J. Loscalzo, Sharon Manne, Randi McAllister-Black, Michelle B. Riba, Kristin Roper, Alan D. Valentine, Lynne I. Wagner and Michael A. Zevon
Michelle B. Riba, Kristine A. Donovan, Barbara Andersen, IIana Braun, William S. Breitbart, Benjamin W. Brewer, Luke O. Buchmann, Matthew M. Clark, Molly Collins, Cheyenne Corbett, Stewart Fleishman, Sofia Garcia, Donna B. Greenberg, Rev. George F. Handzo, Laura Hoofring, Chao-Hui Huang, Robin Lally, Sara Martin, Lisa McGuffey, William Mitchell, Laura J. Morrison, Megan Pailler, Oxana Palesh, Francine Parnes, Janice P. Pazar, Laurel Ralston, Jaroslava Salman, Moreen M. Shannon-Dudley, Alan D. Valentine, Nicole R. McMillian and Susan D. Darlow
Distress is defined in the NCCN Guidelines for Distress Management as a multifactorial, unpleasant experience of a psychologic (ie, cognitive, behavioral, emotional), social, spiritual, and/or physical nature that may interfere with the ability to cope effectively with cancer, its physical symptoms, and its treatment. Early evaluation and screening for distress leads to early and timely management of psychologic distress, which in turn improves medical management. The panel for the Distress Management Guidelines recently added a new principles section including guidance on implementation of standards of psychosocial care for patients with cancer.
Jimmie C. Holland, Barbara Andersen, William S. Breitbart, Luke O. Buchmann, Bruce Compas, Teresa L. Deshields, Moreen M. Dudley, Stewart Fleishman, Caryl D. Fulcher, Donna B. Greenberg, Carl B. Greiner, George F. Handzo, Laura Hoofring, Charles Hoover, Paul B. Jacobsen, Elizabeth Kvale, Michael H. Levy, Matthew J. Loscalzo, Randi McAllister-Black, Karen Y. Mechanic, Oxana Palesh, Janice P. Pazar, Michelle B. Riba, Kristin Roper, Alan D. Valentine, Lynne I. Wagner, Michael A. Zevon, Nicole R. McMillian and Deborah A. Freedman-Cass
The integration of psychosocial care into the routine care of all patients with cancer is increasingly being recognized as the new standard of care. These NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology for Distress Management discuss the identification and treatment of psychosocial problems in patients with cancer. They are intended to assist oncology teams identify patients who require referral to psychosocial resources and to give oncology teams guidance on interventions for patients with mild distress to ensure that all patients with distress are recognized and treated.