Adapt the adult ‘distress thermometer’ for a paediatric oncology population.
Pilot the ‘Worryometer’ as a multi-informant assessment tool for identifying psychosocial problems in patients and their families.
Use results of ‘Worryometer’ to plan appropriate intervention and support
Assess the acceptability to families and the feasibility of using it in clinical settings.
Methods The' Worryometer' is a single item self-report 0-10 analogue scale covering five domains: family, practical, emotional, physical and religious/spiritual. The four most concerning issues are identified and a plan of action agreed. Four versions of the tool were developed for parents and patients of different ages. The study took place over three months in 2011. A Clinical Psychologist, Counsellor, Play Specialists and other Allied Health Professionals were trained to administer the ‘Worryometer’. Families' and professionals' views of the tool were evaluated using a questionnaire. An audit was undertaken to assess whether the identified needs had been followed up. Quantitative and qualitative analysis was used to interpret the data.
Results 23 parents and 13 patients completed the forms.
70% of parents found the tool helpful or very helpful; 25% found the process emotionally uncomfortable. 70% of children found the process helpful. The majority of staff found the tool useful: barriers to its use included the time required. The audit showed that 81% of identified needs were followed up; 11% needed no follow up; and 8% it was unknown.
Conclusions It was found to be:
▶ A useful and relevant tool for identifying individual needs especially during and at the end of treatment.
▶ Specifically, identifying families' internal resources and signposting them if further support was needed.
Future considerations need to take account of:
▶ Different levels of treatment, for example surgery versus chemotherapy.
▶ Assessing patients who have had a brain tumour.
▶ Siblings to have a form tailored to their needs.