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Measures > Measure Information
Distress Thermometer

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“The DT is an efficient, easy-to-use, self-administered tool that can be used to...” More

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Overall Rating61
5 Stars
12
4 Stars
24
3 Stars
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2 Stars
7
1 Star 
7
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Comments/Ratings
69 comments
  • Overall Rating:
  • By:
    Lorraine Pearl-Kraus, PhD, CS, FNP-BC
    Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital
  • Date:
    08/18/2017 4:32 PM
  • Context:
    Clinical Practice

Assessment of Cancer Patient Symptoms and Needs (NCI-ACS-ACRM/CRNG Project)

The DT is an efficient, easy-to-use, self-administered tool that can be used to screen cancer patients' for symptoms and potential rehabilitation needs. My only recommendation would be to add two items in the Physical Problems category under the the item "Getting around": Falls/Injuries or separately as: Falls followed by: Injuries

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I would rate quality as 4.5 stars.
  • Overall Rating:
  • By:
    David Zucker
    Swedish Cancer Institute
  • Date:
    08/04/2017 8:33 PM
  • Context:

Not sufficiently fine grained to efficiently triage

The DT is quite clear for psychosocial/psychological problems (e.g., psychological problems, financial issues) and some symptoms (e.g., mouth sores, nausea) for effective triage to psychosocial care or palliative care/symptom management respectively. But if someone marks “pain”, “fatigue” or “breathing” we don’t know the nature of the problem or its complexity and thus cannot know the best fit: rehabilitation, exercise or palliative care. Further, if rehabilitation is the best fit, we don’t have sufficient information to triage to physiatric care, rehabilitation therapies or both.

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  • By:
    Grace Campbell
    University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing
  • Date:
    07/19/2017 11:30 AM
  • Context:

Overly general

For research purposes, there are many valid, reliable be brief instruments that are more thorough indicators of perceived distress. For clinical purposes, I see clinicians using it to show documentation with meeting NCCN guidelines, but it does not stimulate problem-based discussion between the patient and team.

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  • By:
    Grace Campbell
    University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing
  • Date:
    07/19/2017 11:28 AM
  • Context:

Too general

While this is part of NCCN guidelines, in our experience for both clinical and research purposes, it is not specific enough about the types of concerns to be meaningful. Clinicians can use it to meet a paper requirement but it does not serve as a useful springboard for further discussion. For research, there are many other more well developed, validated measures that are equally easy to use.

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  • By:
    Paul Clark
    Not Specified
  • Date:
    02/14/2014 8:32 AM
  • Context:

Comment from GEM DM Survey

not helpful in research

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  • By:
    Catherine Intartaglia
    Not Specified
  • Date:
    02/14/2014 8:32 AM
  • Context:

Comment from GEM DM Survey

seems very simplistic

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  • Overall Rating:
  • By:
    Barbara McDonnell
    Not Specified
  • Date:
    02/14/2014 8:32 AM
  • Context:

Comment from GEM DM Survey

not available in nursing in my area

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  • Overall Rating:
  • By:
    Julia Rowland
    National Cancer Institute
  • Date:
    02/14/2014 8:32 AM
  • Context:

Comment from GEM DM Survey

While used by many, this is probably too general to help a clinician determine what kind of help/intervention is needed.

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  • Overall Rating:
  • By:
    Stephanie Fajuri
    Not Specified
  • Date:
    02/14/2014 8:32 AM
  • Context:

Comment from GEM DM Survey

na

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  • Overall Rating:
  • By:
    Lisa Capparella
    the reading Hospital
  • Date:
    02/13/2014 9:00 AM
  • Context:

Comment from GEM DM Survey

not reliable or accurate

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  • Overall Rating:
  • By:
    Lisa Capparella
    the reading Hospital
  • Date:
    02/13/2014 9:00 AM
  • Context:

Comment from GEM DM Survey

Helpful as brief tool for tracking current mood over time.

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  • By:
    Lisa Capparella
    the reading Hospital
  • Date:
    02/13/2014 9:00 AM
  • Context:

Comment from GEM DM Survey

too vague

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  • By:
    Lisa Capparella
    the reading Hospital
  • Date:
    02/13/2014 9:00 AM
  • Context:

Comment from GEM DM Survey

Utlize this form with all new oncology patients, fairly comprehensive. Would add a question about suicide risk and would they like to be contacted by a social worker/mental health counselor

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  • By:
    Lisa Capparella
    the reading Hospital
  • Date:
    02/13/2014 9:00 AM
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Comment from GEM DM Survey

most familiar, brief, mostly widely written about/researched

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  • By:
    Jana Bolduan Lomax
    Not Specified
  • Date:
    01/16/2014 10:25 AM
  • Context:

Comment from GEM DM Survey

Too wide ranging and too many false positives

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  • Overall Rating:
  • By:
    Donna Meyer
    Northside Hospital Cancer Institute
  • Date:
    01/16/2014 10:25 AM
  • Context:

Comment from GEM DM Survey

Most widely accepted tool due to NCCN

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  • By:
    Reginald Scoggins
    Not Specified
  • Date:
    01/16/2014 10:25 AM
  • Context:
    Clinical Practice

Comment from GEM DM Survey

Easy for patients to understand

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  • By:
    Kim Burr
    Not Specified
  • Date:
    01/16/2014 10:25 AM
  • Context:
    Clinical Practice

Comment from GEM DM Survey

Captures both global and specific concerns as a starting point.

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  • By:
    Ashley Sprouse
    Gibbs Cancer Center & Research Institute - Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System
  • Date:
    01/16/2014 10:25 AM
  • Context:
    Clinical Practice

Comment from GEM DM Survey

provides quick check list for symptom overview however have found that many patients do not appropriately rate their level of distress

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  • By:
    Karyl Blaseg
    Not Specified
  • Date:
    01/16/2014 10:25 AM
  • Context:

Comment from GEM DM Survey

Part of NCCN guidelines; fairly easy to utilize and for pts to understand

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  • By:
    Chad Dingman
    Not Specified
  • Date:
    01/16/2014 10:25 AM
  • Context:
    Clinical Practice

Comment from GEM DM Survey

Confusion on what distress is and how to rate it. Good to generate discussion on QOL issues

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  • By:
    Stacey Kindall
    Not Specified
  • Date:
    01/16/2014 10:25 AM
  • Context:

Comment from GEM DM Survey

Though you get a general understanding the number ranking may vary from patient to patient so additional questioning is needed to fully grasp the patient's level of distress.

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  • By:
    K Beeker
    Not Specified
  • Date:
    01/16/2014 10:25 AM
  • Context:
    Clinical Practice

Comment from GEM DM Survey

Ease is gathering patient report of symptoms

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  • By:
    Drew Monitto
    Not Specified
  • Date:
    01/16/2014 10:25 AM
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Comment from GEM DM Survey

simple and elegant

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  • Overall Rating:
  • By:
    Lucy Gansauer
    Not Specified
  • Date:
    01/16/2014 10:25 AM
  • Context:
    Basic/Applied/Clinical research

Comment from GEM DM Survey

Ease of use in general practice

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  • By:
    Jennifer Fournier
    St. Joseph's/Candler
  • Date:
    01/16/2014 10:25 AM
  • Context:
    Clinical Practice

Comment from GEM DM Survey

We like that it is from NCCN but it does not ask if patients need help managing distress and which area is most distressing to them.

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  • By:
    Salene Wu
    Not Specified
  • Date:
    01/16/2014 10:25 AM
  • Context:
    Basic/Applied/Clinical research

Comment from GEM DM Survey

Easy to complete, very intuitive. A good cutoff score is still somewhat disputed but the problems list is helpful. Might be better for screening rather than treatment monitoring

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  • By:
    John Wynn
    Not Specified
  • Date:
    01/16/2014 10:25 AM
  • Context:

Comment from GEM DM Survey

useful global screen, quick and easy; challenge is to move VAS to EMR

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  • By:
    matthew loscalzo
    city of hope--national medical center
  • Date:
    01/16/2014 10:25 AM
  • Context:

Comment from GEM DM Survey

outdated and is too general. clinical use extremely limited

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  • By:
    Jillian Smallwood
    Not Specified
  • Date:
    01/16/2014 10:25 AM
  • Context:

Comment from GEM DM Survey

Easy, quick tool to adminsiter and we are currently using it as the 6th vital sign

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  • By:
    Brad Zebrack
    University of michigan
  • Date:
    05/10/2013 2:21 PM
  • Context:
    Basic/Applied/Clinical research

Still lacks evidence of contribution to improved outcomes

Like any other distress instrument, it still remains to be seen whether use of the instrument results in patient need being met and improved outcome.

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  • By:
    Monica Dreyer
    GW Cancer Institute
  • Date:
    04/24/2013 1:04 PM
  • Context:

Good conversation-starter for patients

My department (breast care center) uses this tool to obtain a subjective measure of distress, as well as a needs conversation-starter for patients after they meet with the surgeon. The navigator asks the patient to elaborate on any problems they have checked, which seems to remove some of the stigma of emotional problems as well as opened the door to discuss other problems the patient may be experiencing. It also helps to determine which patients may need more support at that particular point in time, which is helpful with a heavy caseload.

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  • By:
    Sharla Wells-Di Gregorio
    Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital
  • Date:
    04/15/2013 6:16 PM
  • Context:

Specificity a problem

We have used the DT in several clinics. The DT cannot effectively be used independent of a problem checklist as DT scores are predicted by physical symptoms, emotional concerns and social and practical problems per our research - so DT is not useful in solitude to trigger specific referrals independent of review of a problem list. Distress is a multi-dimensional construct (physical, emotional, social/practical, etc.) and should not be confused as a pure measure of "psychological" distress (i.e., depression, anxiety, etc.). Clinicians and researchers who have used it in this way, have found poor specificty for psychological diagnoses. In other words, many patients referred for psychological services, but many not truly in need of psychological intervention - some likely to need intervention for pain or transportation/parking distress. Some reviewers here seem to be commenting on problem checklist, which from my understanding is separate from DT???

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  • By:
    Francine Rainone
    Lourdes Hospital
  • Date:
    04/03/2013 10:52 AM
  • Context:

Wider than deep

The measure is a good overall screen. Once people get used to it they can complete it relatively quickly, but many people find it confusing at first. The colors can be distracting, and don't necessarily correlate with feelings of distress.

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  • By:
    Ashley Sprouse
    Gibbs Cancer Center & Research Institute - Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System
  • Date:
    03/29/2013 2:31 PM
  • Context:
    Clinical Practice

Lengthy checklist, staff does not usually respond to the data at the time of col

We us the NCCN distress thermometer in our radiation and medical oncology offices. The compliance with use of the tool is great but it is not always reviewed and/or problems are not addressed at the time of completion by staff. Social work and navigation reviews and follows up with patients. I do not feel patients are as familiar with being asked this question as they are with pain and fatigue so there is a learning curve for educating patients on what is distress. Some response that the associated checklist is lengthy to complete. our latest update/change in process has been implementing an electronic assessment that is completed by staff once the patient completes the distress tool which is designed to shorten the time between completion of tool and follow up by social work or navigation. Also, decreases the amount of paper we are using, eliminates staff member having to scan document into our EMR and it allows for multiple assesments to be completed and then the results compared and it also provides the option of running reports for data collection.

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  • Overall Rating:
  • By:
    S Kearing
    The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice
  • Date:
    02/12/2013 10:56 PM
  • Context:

Distress thermometer

Quick, reliable screener

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  • By:
    Katherine Sterba
    Medical University of South Carolina
  • Date:
    08/09/2012 8:01 AM
  • Context:

problem items lengthy

In a breast cancer study, we have used the distress thermometer and participants have found it easy and quick to use but comment that the associated problem list is tedious to complete.

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  • By:
    Jennifer Griggs
    University of Michigan
  • Date:
    05/27/2012 10:31 PM
  • Context:

Useful measure that patients understand

Agree this is quick and easy to use. It does not appear, however, that clinicians respond to the data, which is frustrating for patients and investigators.

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  • By:
    Fran Zandstra
    University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • Date:
    05/25/2012 5:15 PM
  • Context:

Distress Thermometer

Quci and easy to use screen that is widely accepted and promoted

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  • By:
    Lance Armstrong Foundation
    Lance Armstrong Foundation
  • Date:
    05/23/2012 2:21 PM
  • Context:

Distress Thermometer

Good quick measure for distress.

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  • By:
    Brenda Wolles
    Not Specified
  • Date:
    01/15/2014 3:19 PM
  • Context:
    Clinical Practice

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  • By:
    Gloria Top
    Not Specified
  • Date:
    01/15/2014 3:19 PM
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  • By:
    Mary Ann Kalinay
    Saint Francis Cancer treatment Center
  • Date:
    01/15/2014 3:19 PM
  • Context:
    Clinical Practice

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  • By:
    Don Nicholas
    Not Specified
  • Date:
    02/12/2014 2:24 PM
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  • By:
    Lara Traeger
    Not Specified
  • Date:
    02/12/2014 2:24 PM
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  • By:
    Jody Bolkema
    Not Specified
  • Date:
    01/15/2014 3:19 PM
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  • By:
    P Hegedus
    Not Specified
  • Date:
    01/15/2014 3:19 PM
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    Clinical Practice

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  • By:
    Jeffrey Kendall
    Simmons Cancer Center at UT Southwestern Medical Center
  • Date:
    01/15/2014 3:19 PM
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  • By:
    Sharon bartelt
    Not Specified
  • Date:
    01/15/2014 3:19 PM
  • Context:
    Clinical Practice

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  • By:
    Kim Day
    Not Specified
  • Date:
    02/13/2014 9:40 PM
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  • By:
    Jeffery Porter
    Not Specified
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    02/12/2014 2:24 PM
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  • By:
    James Bearden
    Not Specified
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    01/15/2014 3:19 PM
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  • By:
    Derek Anderson
    Not Specified
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    01/15/2014 3:19 PM
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  • By:
    Rose Anne Berila
    Seidman Cancer Center; APOS member
  • Date:
    02/12/2014 2:24 PM
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  • By:
    Jennifer Dimick
    Not Specified
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    02/12/2014 2:24 PM
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  • By:
    Elizabeth Archer Nanda
    Not Specified
  • Date:
    01/15/2014 3:19 PM
  • Context:
    Clinical Practice

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  • By:
    Angela McCabe
    Not Specified
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    01/15/2014 3:19 PM
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    Clinical Practice

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  • By:
    Suzanne Hotard
    Not Specified
  • Date:
    01/15/2014 3:19 PM
  • Context:
    Clinical Practice

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  • By:
    Margaret Brammer
    Not Specified
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    02/12/2014 2:24 PM
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  • By:
    Darah Curran
    Not Specified
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    02/13/2014 9:40 PM
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  • By:
    Karen Clark
    Not Specified
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    01/15/2014 3:19 PM
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  • By:
    Lynn Cole
    Not Specified
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    01/15/2014 3:19 PM
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  • By:
    Brian Gonzalez
    Moffitt Cancer Center
  • Date:
    01/15/2014 3:19 PM
  • Context:
    Basic/Applied/Clinical research

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  • By:
    Shawna Ehlers
    Mayo Clinic
  • Date:
    01/15/2014 3:19 PM
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  • By:
    Jon Austin
    Not Specified
  • Date:
    01/15/2014 3:19 PM
  • Context:
    Clinical Practice

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  • By:
    Christy Collins
    Not Specified
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    02/12/2014 2:24 PM
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  • By:
    Shelley Johns
    Indiana University School of Nursing
  • Date:
    01/15/2014 3:19 PM
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  • By:
    Courtney Fuller
    Not Specified
  • Date:
    01/15/2014 3:19 PM
  • Context:
    Clinical Practice

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  • By:
    Mary Hughes
    Not Specified
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    02/12/2014 2:24 PM
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