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All accredited cancer institutions are required to screen patients for psychosocial distress. This paper describes the development, implementation, and preliminary outcomes of the University of California San Diego Health Moores Cancer Center Wellbeing Screening Program.
Essential steps learned in a formal National Cancer Institute–funded training workshop entitled “Implementing Comprehensive Biopsychosocial Screening” were followed to ensure successful program implementation. These steps included identification of stakeholders; formation of a working committee; establishment of a vision, process, and implementation timeline; creation of a screening tool; development of patient educational material; tool integration into an electronic medical record system; staff training and pilot testing of tool administration; and education about tool results and appropriate follow-up actions. Screening data were collected and analyzed retrospectively for preliminary results and rapid cycle improvement of the wellbeing screening process.
Over an 8-month implementation and assessment period, the screening tool was administered 5,610 times of 7,664 expected administrations (73.2%.) to 2,394 unique patients. Visits in which the questionnaire was administered averaged 39.6 ± 14.8 minutes, compared with 40.3 ± 15.2 minutes for visits in which the questionnaire was not administered (t = −1.76, df = 7,662, p = 0.079).
Significance of results
This program provides a process and a tool for successful implementation of distress screening in cancer centers, in a meaningful way for patients and providers, while meeting accreditation standards. Further, meaningful data about patient distress and tool performance were able to be collected and utilized.
Individuals with bipolar disorder (BD) may exhibit attentional deficits, however, the extent of impairment and long-term fluctuations in performance in attention are relatively unknown. We investigated the relationship between sustained attention and affective symptoms over time among BD patients. We also examined whether global differences in attentional capacity differed among BD versus normal comparison (NC) subjects. Participants included 106 outpatients with BD and 66 NC subjects who were administered symptom rating scales and a measure of sustained attention (Continuous Performance Test- Identical Pairs). Measures were repeated 6, 12, and 26 weeks post-baseline. Compared to NC subjects, participants with BD showed impairment in sustained attention across time. Within patient increases in manic symptoms were associated with increased false alarms; both manic and depressive symptoms were associated with worse discrimination. Neither manic nor depressive symptoms were related to hit rates. Our results indicate that the ability to inhibit a response to near miss stimuli (i.e., those that are close to but not identical to the target) is globally impaired among BD patients relative to NC subjects, as well as state-dependent, covarying with affective symptoms. Psychosocial interventions requiring high levels of attentional capacity may need to be adapted according to patients’ current symptomatology. (JINS, 2014, 20, 1–8)
In a psychosocial treatment study, knowing which participants are likely to put forth adequate effort to maximize their treatment, such as attending group sessions and completing homework assignments, and knowing which participants need additional motivation before engagement in treatment is a crucial component to treatment success. This study examined the ability of the Repeatable Battery for Assessment of Neuropsychological Status (RBANS) Effort Index (EI), a newly developed measure of suboptimal effort that is embedded within the RBANS, to predict group attendance in a sample of 128 middle-aged and older adults with schizophrenia. This study was the first to evaluate the EI with a schizophrenia sample. While the EI literature recommends a cutoff score of >3 to be considered indicative of poor effort, a cutoff of >4 was identified as the optimal cutoff for this sample. Receiver Operating Characteristics curve analyses were conducted to determine if the EI could predict participants who had high versus low attendance. Results indicated that the EI was successfully able to discriminate between group attendance, and this measure of effort appears to be most valuable as a tool to identify participants who will have high attendance. Of interest, overall cognitive functioning and symptoms of psychopathology were not predictive of group attendance. (JINS, 2013, 19, 1–8)
Background: Sleep disturbance is a common consequence of providing care to a loved one with Alzheimer's disease (AD). We explored the usefulness of the Pleasant Events and Activity Restriction (PEAR) model for predicting multiple domains of sleep disturbance.
Methods: Our sample consisted of 125 spousal AD caregivers. Participants completed the Pittsburg Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) and were questioned regarding the frequency with which they engaged in pleasant events and the extent to which they felt restricted in engaging in social and recreational activities in the past month. Participants were classified into one of three groups: HPLR = High Pleasant Events + Low Activity Restriction (= reference group; N = 38); HPHR/LPLR = either High Pleasant Events + High Activity Restriction or Low Pleasant Events + Low Activity Restriction (N = 52); and LPHR: Low Pleasant Events + High Activity Restriction (N = 35). These three groups were compared on the seven subscales of the PSQI.
Results: Significant differences were found between the HPLR and LPHR groups on measures of subjective sleep quality, sleep latency, habitual sleep efficiency, sleep disturbance, and daytime dysfunction. Additionally, significant differences were found between the HPLR and HPHR/LPLR groups on subjective sleep quality, sleep latency, and habitual sleep efficiency, and between the HPHR/LPLR and LPHR groups on sleep disturbance and daytime dysfunction.
Conclusions: This study provides broad support for the PEAR model and suggests that interventions focusing on behavioral activation may potentially provide benefits to non-affective domains including sleep.
Background: A growing body of literature suggests that caregiving burden is associated with impaired immune system functioning, which may contribute to elevated morbidity and mortality risk among dementia caregivers. However, potential mechanisms linking these relationships are not well understood. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether stress-related experience of depressive symptoms and reductions in personal mastery were related to alterations in ß2-adrenergic receptor sensitivity.
Methods: Spousal Alzheimer's caregivers (N = 106) completed measures assessing the extent to which they felt overloaded by their caregiving responsibilities, experienced depressive symptoms, and believed their life circumstances were under their control. We hypothesized that caregivers reporting elevated stress would report increased depressive symptoms and reduced mastery, which in turn would be associated with reduced ß2- adrenergic receptor sensitivity on peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC), as assessed by in vitro isoproterenol stimulation.
Results: Regression analyses indicated that overload was negatively associated with mastery (β = −0.36, p = 0.001) and receptor sensitivity (β = −0.24, p = 0.030), whereas mastery was positively associated with receptor sensitivity (β = 0.29, p = 0.005). Finally, the relationship between overload and receptor sensitivity diminshed upon simultaneous entry of mastery. Sobel's test confirmed that mastery significantly mediated some of the relationship between overload and receptor sensitivity (z = −2.02, p = 0.044).
Conclusions: These results suggest that a reduced sense of mastery may help explain the association between caregiving burden and reduced immune cell ß2-receptor sensitivity.
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