Numerous articles have demonstrated that patients undergoing treatment for cancer experience distress. Research has also shown that patients whose distress is effectively identified and treated may tolerate their chemotherapy better and have improved quality of life. Oncology nurses at the Lowell General Hospital Cancer Center, through their participation in the Breast Cancer Care Measures portion of the ONS Foundation-supported Breast Cancer Quality Measures Set pilot and the Oncology Quality Collaborative, identified that the distress assessment used at their institution was ineffective. The assessment tool did not identify the reason for the patient's distress and therefore was ineffective at triggering appropriate interventions needed for resolution of the patient's distress. The following article highlights the process by which the Lowell General Hospital Cancer Center implemented a new distress assessment tool and uses a patient case study to illustrate its effectiveness.
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