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Healthcare Providers’ Perceptions of the Utility of Psychosocial Screening Tools in Childhood Cancer: A Pilot Study

Ashley Di Battista
Kelly Hancock
Danielle Cataudella
Donna Johnston
Marilyn Cassidy
Angela Punnett
Wendy Shama
Maru Barrera
ONF 2015, 42(4), 391-397 DOI: 10.1188/15.ONF.391-397

Purpose/Objectives: To examine the perceptions of healthcare providers (HCPs) regarding the utility of two psychosocial screening tools designed for pediatric oncology, the Psychosocial Assessment Tool–Revised (PATrev)and the Psychosocial Care Checklist (PCCL).

Design: Repeated measures comparative study.

Setting: Four pediatric health centers in Ontario, Canada.

Sample: 15 oncologists, 14 nurses, and 8 social workers.

Methods: Using a visual analog scale (VAS), participants were asked to rate how useful they found (a) the psychosocial summary derived from the parent-completed PATrev, used to assess family psychosocial risk, and (b) the HCP-completed PCCL, used to identify family psychosocial needs. Measures were completed soon after diagnosis and six months later. Mann-Whitney U tests were used for analyses.

Main Research Variable: VAS scores.

Findings: Pediatric oncology HCPs differ in their acceptance of the psychosocial screening tools tested. The highest utility ratings for both instruments were from nurses, and the lowest utility ratings were from social workers; moderate ratings were obtained from oncologists.

Conclusions: Psychosocial screening tools can identify the psychosocial needs of children with cancer and their families throughout the cancer trajectory. Consequently, these tools could foster communication among colleagues (medical and nonmedical) who are caring for children with cancer about the psychosocial needs of this population and the allocation of resources to address those needs.

Implications for Nursing: Nurses seem to value these tools more than other HCPs, which may have positive implications for their clinical practice.

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