Iris Mini: What is Distress Screening?

Iris nurses and mental health therapists use different tools to help make sure we are addressing whatever is most important to you in terms of your physical and emotional health. One of these tools is called the distress thermometer, a standard tool that is frequently used in medical settings.

The distress thermometer is a tool developed specifically for cancer-related distress by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), an organization committed to providing guidelines related to cancer care to better identify and address issues of physical, social, practical, spiritual, and emotional distress to ensure you receive the best care possible.

When using the tool, an Iris Care Team Member will ask you to report your level of distress from 0 (no distress) to 10 (highest level of distress) and identify current sources of distress. This can take less than a minute, and it gives the Iris Care Team information about you and your specific needs. It will sometimes be used to help you understand what is contributing to your distress.

The distress thermometer is used at each mental health therapist visit and some nursing visits. It may be used at the start or the end of a visit. You may want to take a closer look at the distress thermometer by viewing the information at this link before your visit to help you prepare.

Please let your Iris Care Team know if you have any questions about why we use this screening tool – we are here for you!