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Finalising the administration of co-SSPedi, a dyad approach to symptom screening for paediatric patients receiving cancer treatments


Objectives Symptom Screening in Pediatrics Tool (SSPedi) is a validated self-report symptom screening tool for patients with cancer 8–18 years of age. Co-SSPedi is a novel dyad approach in which both child and parent complete SSPedi together. The objective was to finalise the approach to co-SSPedi administration with instruction that is easy to understand, resulting in dyads completing co-SSPedi correctly.

Method We enrolled child and parent dyads, who understood English and where children (4–18 years) had cancer or were hematopoietic stem cell transplantation recipients. We provided each dyad with instruction on how to complete co-SSPedi together. Mixed methods were used to determine how easy or hard the instruction was to understand. Two raters adjudicated if co-SSPedi was completed correctly. Dyads were enrolled in cohorts of 12 evenly divided by age (4–7, 8–10, 11–14 and 15–18 years).

Results We enrolled 5 cohorts of 12 dyads, resulting in 60 dyads. Following verbal instruction provided in the first cohort, we identified the need for written instruction emphasising children should wait for parent response prior to entering scores. The instruction was iteratively refined based on qualitative feedback until the fifth cohort, where all 12 dyads found the instruction easy to understand and completed co-SSPedi correctly.

Conclusions We developed a standard approach to dyad symptom screening named co-SSPedi with instruction that is easy to understand, resulting in correct co-SSPedi completion. Future efforts should focus on co-SSPedi validation and understanding how co-SSPedi scores compare to self- or proxy-reported symptom reporting.

  • supportive care
  • paediatrics
  • symptoms and symptom management

Data availability statement

Data are available on reasonable request. All additional data are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

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