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Distress screening and supportive care referrals used by telephone-based health services: a systematic review

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Distress screening and supportive care referrals used by telephone-based health services: a systematic review

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Jo Taylor, Elizabeth A Fradgley, Tara Clinton-McHarg, Della Roach & Chris L Paul 

Abstract

Purpose

People affected by chronic diseases such as cancer report high levels of distress and a need for psychosocial support. It is unclear whether telephone-based services for people affected by chronic disease are a practical setting for implementing distress screening, referral protocols and rescreening to direct supportive care where it is needed. This systematic review aimed to describe the published literature regarding distress screening and supportive care referral practices in telephone-based services for people affected by chronic diseases such as cancer.

Methods

A systematic literature search of MEDLINE, Embase, PsycInfo, CINAHL, Cochrane and Scopus was conducted in February 2018. Included quantitative studies involved: patients or caregivers affected by chronic diseases including cancer and describe a health service assessing psychosocial needs or distress via telephone. Extracted data included the type of cancer or other chronic disease, sample size, screening tool, referral or rescreening protocols, and type of health service.

Results

The search identified 3989 potential articles with additional searches returning 30 studies (n = 4019); fourteen were eligible for full-text review. Of the 14 studies, 13 included cancer patients. Studies were across multiple settings and identified nine distress screening tools in use.

Conclusion

The reviewed studies indicate that validated distress-screening tools are being used via telephone to identify distress, particularly in relation to cancer. Screening-driven supportive care referrals are also taking place in telephone-based services. However, not all services use an established referral protocol. Ongoing rescreening of callers’ distress is also limited despite it being an important recommendation from psycho-oncology guidelines.

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Year 2020
Language English
Format PDF
DOI 10.1007/s00520-019-05252-8