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Taking a "Snapshot": Evaluation of a Conversation Aid for Identifying Psychosocial Needs in Young Adults with Cancer

Journal title
Journal of adolescent and young adult oncology
Publication year
Poort, H.; Souza, P. M.; Malinowski, P. K.; MacDougall, K. M.; Barysauskas, C. M.; Lau Greenberg, T.; Tulsky, J. A.; Fasciano, K. M.

PURPOSE: Young adults (YAs) aged 18-35 years with cancer often experience unmet psychosocial needs. We aimed to evaluate a conversation aid ("Snapshot") that offered a framework for discussing YA-specific psychosocial concerns between patients and clinicians. METHODS: We developed and implemented Snapshot between 2014 and 2016 as part of a quality improvement initiative at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. We extracted pre- and postimplementation data from chart documentation of psychosocial concerns. YAs and social workers provided qualitative feedback on the use of Snapshot in clinical care. RESULTS: Postintervention chart reviews revealed a significant increase in the median number of topics documented in charts after implementation of Snapshot (preintervention median = 9 [range: 1-15] vs. postintervention median = 11 [range 6-15]; p = 0.003). Overall, YAs and social workers reported that using Snapshot improved communication and consistency of psychosocial care, with documented improvement in the following domains: understanding illness (p < 0.001), sexuality and intimacy (p = 0.03), symptom burden (p = 0.003), care planning (p < 0.001), support for caregivers and children (p = 0.02), and social, work, and home changes (p = 0.05). CONCLUSION: Snapshot improved the quality of psychosocial needs assessment among YAs with cancer. Implementation was successful in reducing variability identified in the preintervention cohort and increasing the number of YA-specific psychosocial topics discussed. A standardized conversation aid has the potential to improve quality of care for YAs by enabling early identification and intervention of psychosocial issues for all patients.

Research abstracts