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Home > Resources > Distress Screening > Overview

Distress Screening

The pivotal Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, Cancer Care for the Whole Patient: Meeting Psychosocial Health Needs, called attention to the importance of the psychosocial needs of cancer patients and the consequences of these needs remaining unmet. The IOM report concludes:

Attending to psychosocial needs should be an integral part of quality cancer care. All components of the health care system that are involved in cancer care should explicitly incorporate attention to psychosocial needs.

In the nearly 10 years since the report’s release, great strides have been made in the community cancer care setting in understanding the psychosocial needs of cancer patients and their caregivers. A body of knowledge has grown around this area, and organizations like the Commission on Cancer (CoC) and others are including distress screening as part of their guidelines and accreditation standards. Yet, implementation of these psychosocial services—in particular, distress screening—remains a challenge in many community–based cancer programs around the country.

ACCC is pleased to partner with the American Psychosocial Oncology Society (APOS) for a project titled, "Psychosocial Distress Screening," that shares learnings from ACCC-member centers that have successfully implemented distress screening programs with those cancer programs that are struggling with implementation. The project's overarching goal is to improve patient care and the patient experience. Learn more.

Psychosocial Distress Screening—Model Sites

ACCC, along with its project partner APOS, identified three ACCC member programs that are serving as model sites for the “Psychosocial Distress Screening” project. Selected from a nationwide pool of 40 pre-identified sites, these model distress screening programs participated in a site visit and interviews to glean information on their approach to implementation of a distress screening program. Findings and information gathered resulted in a white paper on distress screening and shared resources/tools. The three model sites are:

Read just-released white paper, Psychosocial Distress Screening: Lessons Learned from Three ACCC Member Programs for an in-depth look at the distress screening processes at the three model sites.

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