Psychosocial health care needs assessment of adult cancer patients: a consensus-based guideline Academic Article uri icon

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  • PURPOSE: Although recommended as an essential part of cancer care, there is limited evidence regarding the optimum approach to psychosocial health care needs assessment in this setting. To address this gap, the Cancer Journey Action Group of the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (CPAC) and the Canadian Association of Psychosocial Oncology (CAPO) partnered to develop consensus-based recommendations regarding the routine assessment of psychosocial and supportive care needs. The purpose of this paper is to summarize the evidence that informed the guideline and disseminate the recommendations developed by the expert panel. METHODS: Clinical practice recommendations were developed by a panel comprised of psychosocial and interdisciplinary experts. Recommendations were informed by a review of oncology clinical practice guidelines, systematic reviews, and primary research, through to May 2008. Following expert consensus on the recommendations, the clinical practice guideline was externally reviewed by a purposively selected sample of national and international interdisciplinary experts. RESULTS: A total of nine clinical practice guidelines, three systematic reviews, and 14 primary studies were included in the review. Overall, this body of literature suggested that routine collection of psychosocial health care data has an influence on communication with oncologists and other study specific outcomes, but the evidence was limited by heterogeneity and methodological limitations. Based on the interpretation of this body of evidence by clinical experts, research methodologists, and external reviewers, 12 substantive recommendations were developed regarding the process and parameters of psychosocial needs assessment in adult cancer patients. CONCLUSION: Given the limitations in the current body of evidence, there remains a need for rigorous empirical research regarding the optimal approach to psychosocial needs assessment, including the specific characteristics that influence effectiveness on patient outcomes. This guideline fills an important gap in psychosocial care, regarding the routine assessment of psychosocial health care needs.


  • Howell, D
  • Mayo, S
  • Currie, S
  • Jones, G
  • Boyle, Michael
  • Hack, T
  • Green, E
  • Hoffman, L
  • Collacutt, V
  • McLeod, D
  • Simpson, J

publication date

  • December 2012