Delivery of care consistent with the psychosocial standards in pediatric cancer: Current practices in the United States

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Abstract

Background:

With published evidence-based Standards for Psychosocial Care for Children with Cancer and their Families, it is important to know the current status of their implementation. This paper presents data on delivery of psychosocial care related to the Standards in the United States.

Procedure:

Pediatric oncologists, psychosocial leaders, and administrators in pediatric oncology from 144 programs completed an online survey. Participants reported on the extent to which psychosocial care consistent with the Standards was implemented and was comprehensive and state of the art. They also reported on specific practices and services for each Standard and the extent to which psychosocial care was integrated into broader medical care.

Results:

Participants indicated that psychosocial care consistent with the Standards was usually or always provided at their center for most of the Standards. However, only half of the oncologists (55.6%) and psychosocial leaders (45.6%) agreed or strongly agreed that their psychosocial care was comprehensive and state of the art. Types of psychosocial care provided included evidence-based and less established approaches but were most often provided when problems were identified, rather than proactively. The perception of state of the art care was associated with practices indicative of integrated psychosocial care and the extent to which the Standards are currently implemented.

Conclusion:

Many oncologists and psychosocial leaders perceive that the delivery of psychosocial care at their center is consistent with the Standards. However, care is quite variable, with evidence for the value of more integrated models of psychosocial services.

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