Research has shown that single-item tools, like the Distress Thermometer (DT), are comparable to longer ones, like the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS).
In this study, we tested the validity of the DT in a population of Singapore cancer outpatients, and determined the cut-off scores on the DT for clinically relevant distress and an impaired quality of life (QOL).
Carer/support persons included immediate family members, relatives, or friends that were involved in the care of a diagnosed cancer patient (hereafter referred to as 'carers').
Operators were asked to record their reasons for not implementing the DT and PL, and any provided reasons why callers could not respond to the tool.
The DT and PL allow clinicians to direct/prioritise interventions or referrals, although ongoing training and support is critical in distress screening. The Problem List (PL) can be used in addition to the DT to identify possible contributing factors, summarised into five categories: practical, family, emotional, spiritual, and physical.
Although the DT and PL has been well-validated in numerous settings with various cancer groups  very little has been written on the acceptability of the measure.
First, there is a concern that the options provided in the PL may not encompass all the critical issues experienced by cancer patients. (2005) stated that the current format "does not provide an opportunity for patients to identify other potential sources of distress, such as unmet needs" .
Some of these patients also suggested that the DT checklist was not comprehensive and required more items and symptom categories. (2007) tested a revised version of the PL indicating that information concerns and cognitive problems should also be assessed.
age = 51–60 years, 64% female, and 71% Chinese) diagnosed with various cancers participated in this study.
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Cancer Council Queensland, a not-for-profit non-government organisation, recently utilised the DT and PL over a four month period to screen cancer patients and carers calling their telephone cancer helpline service operated by health professionals (nurses and allied health professionals).
The current study investigates the acceptability of the tool to helpline operators and callers.