decision aid, oncology, palliative care, screening tool



  1. Schierenbeck, Sara J. DNP, APNP, FNP-BC
  2. Elertson, Kathleen DNP, APNP, CPNP, FNP-BC


This pilot quality improvement project implemented an adapted screening tool within an outpatient oncology center for patients with advanced cancer to identify unmet patient needs, aid decision making, and increase the number of patients referred to palliative care. Baseline data were collected via retrospective convenience sampling to track the number of palliative care referrals generated from the oncology center. Over a 6-week period, screening was implemented during patient evaluations with their oncologist to identify needs for palliative care intervention and as a decision aid to support referring patients to a specialized palliative care service. During the pilot, key nursing staff were affected by COVID-19, and the ideal sample size was not met. Despite a small sample size, the number of palliative care referrals increased. The increased number of referrals affirms the use of a screening tool to identify palliative care needs and as a formal decision-making process to improve patient access to palliative care.