BackgroundCancer patients are frequently admitted to hospital due to acute conditions or refractory symptoms. This occurs through the emergency departments and requires medical oncologists to take an active role. The use of acute-care hospital increases in the last months of life.Patients and methodsWe aimed to describe the admissions to a medical oncology inpatient service within a 16-month period with respect to patients and tumor characteristics, and the outcome of the hospital stay.Results672 admissions of 454 patients were analysed. The majority of admissions were urgent (74.1%), and were due to uncontrolled symptoms (79.6%). Among the chief complaints, dyspnoea occurred in 15.7%, pain in 15.2%, and neurological symptoms in 14.5%. The majority of the hospitalizations resulted in discharge to home (60.6%); in 26.5% the patient died and in 11.0% was transferred to a hospice. Admissions due to symptoms correlated with a longer hospital stay and a higher incidence of in-hospital death.ConclusionWe suggest that hospital use is not necessarily a sign of inappropriately aggressive care: inpatient care is probably an unavoidable step in the cancer trajectory. Optimization of inpatient supportive procedures should be a specific task of modern medical oncology.

Hospital admission of cancer patients: Avoidable practice or necessary care?

Silvestris N.
2015

Abstract

BackgroundCancer patients are frequently admitted to hospital due to acute conditions or refractory symptoms. This occurs through the emergency departments and requires medical oncologists to take an active role. The use of acute-care hospital increases in the last months of life.Patients and methodsWe aimed to describe the admissions to a medical oncology inpatient service within a 16-month period with respect to patients and tumor characteristics, and the outcome of the hospital stay.Results672 admissions of 454 patients were analysed. The majority of admissions were urgent (74.1%), and were due to uncontrolled symptoms (79.6%). Among the chief complaints, dyspnoea occurred in 15.7%, pain in 15.2%, and neurological symptoms in 14.5%. The majority of the hospitalizations resulted in discharge to home (60.6%); in 26.5% the patient died and in 11.0% was transferred to a hospice. Admissions due to symptoms correlated with a longer hospital stay and a higher incidence of in-hospital death.ConclusionWe suggest that hospital use is not necessarily a sign of inappropriately aggressive care: inpatient care is probably an unavoidable step in the cancer trajectory. Optimization of inpatient supportive procedures should be a specific task of modern medical oncology.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11586/250741
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