Oncology Nursing Society Issues Joint Position Statement on Implementing Screening for Psychosocial Distress
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
The American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer will require that cancer centers implement screening programs for psychosocial distress by 2015 as a new criterion for accreditation. In response to that requirement, the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS), the American Psychosocial Oncology Society (APOS), and the Association of Oncology Social Workers (AOSW), developed a joint position statement on implementing psychosocial distress screening for patients undergoing cancer treatment. Implementing Screening for Distress: The Joint Position Statement From the American Psychosocial Oncology Society, Association of Oncology Social Work, and Oncology Nursing Society addresses eight key issues that must be met before cancer centers can adhere to the new guidelines and provide quality patient care.
"Evaluating patient distress is important and should be part of initial and ongoing assessment by the nurse and interprofessional team,” said ONS Director-at-Large Deborah Kirk Walker, DNP, FNP-BC, AOCN®. “This position helps to summarize key issues related to distress screening for the patient with cancer, including defining distress.”
Distress, an indicator of suffering and predictor of poor health and quality-of-life outcomes throughout the disease trajectory, is common and treatable. Emerging research suggests that screening for and addressing distress not only enhance quality of life but may also be associated with improved cancer outcomes. Unfortunately, distress often goes unrecognized in oncology care, necessitating the development of systematic methods for its identification and management.
American Psychosocial Oncology Society, formed in 1986, advances the science and practice of psychosocial care for people affected by cancer by developing and implementing educational programs for health professionals, patients, and the public on the psychological, social, behavioral, and spiritual aspects of cancer and developing standards of care for the management of the psychological, social, behavioral, and spiritual domains of cancer.
The Association of Oncology Social Work is a non-profit, international organization dedicated to the enhancement of psychosocial services to people with cancer and their families. Created in 1984 by social workers interested in oncology and by existing national cancer organizations, we have over 1000 current members who embrace the AOSW Mission “to advance excellence in the psychosocial care of persons with cancer, their families, and caregivers through networking, education, advocacy, research and resource development.”
ONS is a professional association of more than 35,000 members committed to promoting excellence in oncology nursing and the transformation of cancer care. Since 1975, ONS has provided a professional community for oncology nurses, developed evidence-based education programs and treatment information, and advocated for patient care, all in an effort to improve quality of life and outcomes for patients with cancer and their families. Learn more at www.ons.org.