Cancer Transitional Care for Terminally Ill Cancer Patients Can Reduce the Number of Emergency Admissions and Emergency Department Visits

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Abstract

Background:

Emergency admissions and emergency department visits (EAs/EDVs) have been used as quality indicators of home care in terminally ill cancer patients. We established a cancer transitional care (CTC) program to monitor and manage terminally ill cancer patients receiving care at home. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of CTC by the frequency of EAs/EDVs.

Methods:

In a retrospective chart review, we identified 133 patients with cancer admitted to our department, of whom 56 met study eligibility criteria. The CTC consisted of at least 1 or more following components: (1) a 24-hour hotline for general physicians or home care nurses to reach hospital-based physicians, (2) periodic phone calls from an expert hospital-based oncology nurse to home care medical staff, and (3) reports sent to our department from home care medical staff. The primary outcome variable was the frequency of EAs/EDVs.

Results:

There were 32 EAs/EDVs and 69 planned admissions during the observation period. In the last 30 days of life, 16 patients (28.6%) had 1 EA/EDV and none had multiple EAs/EDVs. Compared with previous studies, our study found a similar or lower frequency of EAs/EDVs.

Conclusion:

Our findings suggest that the implementation of CTC reduces the number of EAs/EDVs by replacing them with planned admissions. Further prospective studies to evaluate CTC are warranted.

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