Objective This observational clinical study investigated patients’ experiences with and opinions on the Dutch ‘Screening of Distress and Referral Need’ (SDRN) process implemented in oncology practice. Insight into these can guide improvement of the SDRN process. Methods Patients from hospitals that had implemented SDRN for at least a year completed questions on experiences with essential SDRN process steps (1: completion of the Distress Thermometer and Problem List as screening instrument (DT&PL), 2: information on SDRN+DT&PL, 3: information on referral options, 4: discussing DT&PL responses, 5: referral when needed), and on opinions about SDRN and DT&PL. Descriptive and univariate analyses were conducted. Results Of the 498 participants (response = 54%), 81% completed a DT&PL, of whom 86–87% was exposed to steps 2–3 and 76% discussed responses; only three needing care were not offered referral. Sixty-one percent encountered all SDRN steps and 78% would recommend SDRN to others. Recommending SDRN is related to more frequent DT&PL completion (t = -2.5; p0.01), receipt of information on SDRN+DT&PL and referral options (X2 = 4.9; p0.05 and X2 = 5.9; p0.05 respectively), discussion of responses (X2 = 10.2; p0.001), and fuller exposure to SDRN process steps (X2 = 14.8; p0.01). Percentages (strongly) agreeing were highest on the DT&PL being useful (90%) and suitable (88%), and lowest on burdensome (31%) and time-consuming (28%). Conclusion The majority of participating patients encountered the steps of the SDRN process considered essential, with 3/5 having encountered all steps. Referral is largely targeted to patients’ need. Patients’ perceived benefit of SDRN increases with fuller exposure to all process steps. Therefore, improvements, particularly in DT&PL completion and discussion of responses should be made.
van Nuenen, F. M., Donofrio, S. M., van de Wiel, H. B. M., & Hoekstra-Weebers, J. E. H. M. (2018). Cancer patients’ experiences with and opinions on the process’Screening of Distress and Referral Need’ (SDRN) in clinical practice: A quantitative observational clinical study. PLoS ONE, 13(6). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0198722