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Electronic Self-report Symptom and Quality of Life for Adolescent Patients With Cancer: A Feasibility Study

Wu, Wei-Wen PhD, RN; Johnson, Rebecca MD; Schepp, Karen G. PhD, APRN, BC, FAAN; Berry, Donna L. PhD, RN, AOCN, FAAN

doi: 10.1097/NCC.0b013e31820a5bdd
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Background: Computerized symptom and quality of life (QoL) assessment has been tested and found feasible and acceptable in outpatient settings for adult patients with cancer, but has not been used often in pediatric oncology settings in the United States.

Objective: The purpose of this pilot study was to evaluate the feasibility of an innovative, computerized symptom, and QoL assessment for adolescent patients who were being treated for cancer.

Methods: A convenience sample of 40 adolescent patients with cancer, who were between 13 and 20 years old and able to communicate in English, agreed to participate. Each participant answered the Web-based Electronic Self-report Assessment-Cancer Adolescent Form on a wireless touch-screen computer just prior to a treatment visit in an ambulatory clinic setting. Descriptive frequencies and central tendency were used to describe sample characteristics and feasibility outcomes.

Results: The computerized assessment was found to be feasible with regard to data completeness rates (>99%), acceptability (high), time to complete (30 minutes), and assistance required to complete (minimal).

Conclusion: The Electronic Self-report Assessment-Cancer Adolescent Form is a feasible approach for obtaining adolescent patients' self-report of cancer symptoms and QoL in an ambulatory setting.

Implications for Practice: Screening for symptoms and QoL may be integrated during check-in procedures as routine assessment for adolescent cancer patients in ambulatory settings.

Author affiliations: Department of Nursing, National Taipei University of Nursing and Health Sciences School of Nursing, Taiwan (Dr Wu); Children's Hospital, Seattle (Dr Johnson), and University of Washington School of Nursing, Seattle (Dr Schepp); and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts (Dr Berry).

At the time of this study, Dr Wu was a doctoral candidate and Dr Berry was a professor at the University of Washington.

Funding was received from Hester McLaws Fund, School of Nursing, University of Washington, and the Sigma Theta Tau PSI-at-Large Chapter.

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Correspondence: Donna L. Berry, PhD, RN, AOCN, FAAN, Phyllis F. Cantor Center for Research in Nursing & Patient Care Services, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, 405 Brookline Ave, CP 305, Boston, MA 02115-6084 (donna_berry@dfci.harvard.edu).

Accepted for publication December 7, 2010.

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.