Background: Patients with cancer often face severe distress related to fear of death, body disfigurement, financial stress, and lack of support system. This distress may lead to physical and emotional symptoms that bring patients to seek care at emergency departments, delay care or make poor health choices, and increase utilization of prescription drugs. With the already over burdened healthcare system, addressing these psychosocial needs is vital to improving patients outcomes as well as improving healthcare expenditure. Purpose: The purpose of this evidence based practice project was to improve perceived quality of life for oncology patients through detailed screening and behavioural intervention. Methods: A body of evidence was evaluated and synthesized using the EBP process. From the evidence, a standardized psychosocial distress screening and intervention program was developed and implemented for oncology patients that were admitted to three floors at Methodist Dallas Medical Center. Using the NCCN distress thermometer as well as the 39 questions v problem list, psychosocial distress was considered with the expectation that perceived quality of life would improve. Results: The average initial distress screening was 4.6 out of 10. At the three month follow-up screening, the average score was 3.1, improving by 32%. Most interventions included nutritional support, support groups, palliative and hospice care, and social work, with 92% utilization of referrals by patients.

Date of publication

Spring 4-28-2022

Document Type

DNP Scholarly Project



Persistent identifier


Committee members

Colleen Marzilli, Cheryl Parker, Lauri John


Doctor of Nursing Practice