The American College of Surgeons (ACoS) Commission on Cancer (CoC) has advanced a new patient-centered accreditation standard requiring programs to implement psychosocial distress screening and referral for psychosocial care. The field of psychosocial oncology has advocated for routine distress screening as an integral component of quality cancer care since the NCCN Distress Management Panel first recommended this practice in 1999. Accreditation standards have a significant impact on practice patterns and quality of care. The new ACoS CoC Psychosocial Distress Screening Standard provides a unique opportunity to integrate the science of psychosocial care into clinical practice. National organizations, including the American Psychosocial Oncology Society, the Association of Oncology Social Work, the Cancer Support Community, and LIVESTRONG, can offer valuable guidance and resources. This article reviews ACoS CoC requirements, highlighting key research findings and providing practical considerations to guide programs with implementation. Although screening for distress encompasses many domains, this article reviews the evidence linking depression—one aspect of distress—and cancer outcomes to highlight the profound influence psychosocial care delivery can have on promoting medical outcomes and quality cancer survivorship. The authors describe distress screening program accomplishments at Northwestern University, including the electronic administration of NIH Patient Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System computerized adaptive testing item banks. Electronic medical record integration facilitates real-time scoring, interpretation, provider notification, and triage for psychosocial care. Roughly one-third of patients have requested assistance with psychosocial needs. As ACoS CoC programs implement psychosocial distress screening and management, the emerging field of implementation science can guide future clinical program developments and research priorities.
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Lynne I. Wagner, David Spiegel, and Timothy Pearman
Ann M. Berger, Amy Pickar Abernethy, Ashley Atkinson, Andrea M. Barsevick, William S. Breitbart, David Cella, Bernadine Cimprich, Charles Cleeland, Mario A. Eisenberger, Carmen P. Escalante, Paul B. Jacobsen, Phyllis Kaldor, Jennifer A. Ligibel, Barbara A. Murphy, Tracey O'Connor, William F. Pirl, Eve Rodler, Hope S. Rugo, Jay Thomas, and Lynne I. Wagner
Ann M. Berger, Kathi Mooney, Amy Alvarez-Perez, William S. Breitbart, Kristen M. Carpenter, David Cella, Charles Cleeland, Efrat Dotan, Mario A. Eisenberger, Carmen P. Escalante, Paul B. Jacobsen, Catherine Jankowski, Thomas LeBlanc, Jennifer A. Ligibel, Elizabeth Trice Loggers, Belinda Mandrell, Barbara A. Murphy, Oxana Palesh, William F. Pirl, Steven C. Plaxe, Michelle B. Riba, Hope S. Rugo, Carolina Salvador, Lynne I. Wagner, Nina D. Wagner-Johnston, Finly J. Zachariah, Mary Anne Bergman, and Courtney Smith
Cancer-related fatigue is defined as a distressing, persistent, subjective sense of physical, emotional, and/or cognitive tiredness or exhaustion related to cancer or cancer treatment that is not proportional to recent activity and interferes with usual functioning. It is one of the most common side effects in patients with cancer. Fatigue has been shown to be a consequence of active treatment, but it may also persist into posttreatment periods. Furthermore, difficulties in end-of-life care can be compounded by fatigue. The NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines) for Cancer-Related Fatigue provide guidance on screening for fatigue and recommendations for interventions based on the stage of treatment. Interventions may include education and counseling, general strategies for the management of fatigue, and specific nonpharmacologic and pharmacologic interventions. Fatigue is a frequently underreported complication in patients with cancer and, when reported, is responsible for reduced quality of life. Therefore, routine screening to identify fatigue is an important component in improving the quality of life for patients living with cancer.
Jimmie C. Holland, Barbara Andersen, William S. Breitbart, Bruce Compas, Moreen M. Dudley, Stewart Fleishman, Caryl D. Fulcher, Donna B. Greenberg, Carl B. Greiner, Rev. 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
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, Rev. 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.