Background: Objective was to evaluate and refine a new instrument for paediatric cancer symptom screening named the Symptom Screening in Pediatrics Tool (SSPedi).
Methods: Respondents were children 8-18 years of age undergoing active cancer treatment and parents of eligible children. Respondents completed SSPedi once and then responded to semi-structured questions. They rated how easy or difficult SSPedi was to complete. For items containing two concepts, we asked respondents whether concepts should remain together or be separated into two questions. We also asked about each item's importance and whether items were missing. Cognitive probing was conducted in children to evaluate their understanding of items and the response scale. After each group of 10 children and 10 parents, responses were reviewed to determine whether modifications were required. Recruitment ceased with the first group of 10 children in which modifications were not required.
Results: Thirty children and 20 parents were required to achieve a final version of SSPedi. Fifteen items remain in the final version; the score ranges from 0 to 60.
Conclusions: Using opinions of children with cancer and parents of paediatric cancer patients, we successfully developed a symptom screening tool that is easy to complete, is understandable and demonstrates content validity.