Utility of a modified distress thermometer in screening COVID-19 patients for psychological distress: A prospective Egyptian study
Background: The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) has adopted the distress thermometer (DT) as one of the best-known distress-screening instruments. We have adopted a modified version of the NCCN distress thermometer.We questioned if this modified DT (m-DT) could be utilized for measuring the prevalence of psychological distress among COVID-19 patients.
Methods: The prospective study included 2 phases; modification of the original DT and its associated problem list (PL), and evaluation of this m-DT in measuring the prevalence of psychological distress among COVID-19 patients. Egyptian adult subjects with suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 at 2 University Hospitals were enrolled. Binary logistic regression tests were carried out to explore the association between the m-DT cut-off scores of 4 and the clinical variables.
Results: One hundred sixty-nine (60.4%) patients experienced significant distress (m-DT cut off score ≥4). Logistic regression showed that occupation, presence of special habits, length of quarantine time, worry, cough, shortness of breath, and fever, were independent factors associated with significant distress in COVID-19 patients.
Conclusion: With the modified distress thermometer (m-DT), 60% of Egyptian COVID-19 patients experienced significant distress. This distress was significantly related to age, marital status, occupation, presence or absence of special habits, and length of the quarantine time. With m-DT, the current study had identified worry, being a health-care worker, shortness of breath, fever, length of quarantine time, presence of special habits, and cough as independent factors associated with significant distress in COVID-19 patients. Further studies are warranted.
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