Reasons for Admission and Outcome to an Acute Palliative Care Unit in Patients with Advanced Malignancy in a Cancer Hospital
Introduction: The alleviation of suffering is a primary goal of palliative care team for patients with terminal cancer. In some cases, patients experience symptoms requiring inpatient care. The purpose of this investigation was to assess the clinical presentation and outcomes of hospitalization in patients that were admitted to the acute palliative care service. Materials and Methods: This is a retrospective descriptive study looking at admissions to an acute palliative care unit in a single center over a 24-month period. Medical records of all patients, admitted in palliative care unit from 1st January 2013 till 31st December 2014, were reviewed for reason of admission and outcome. Results: A total of 226 patients were identified and included in the present investigation. Among these 55.5 % (125) were females. The median age of the cohort was 48 (15 - 86) years. The most common reasons for admission were alteration in consciousness (19.5 %), respiratory tract infection (18 %), diarrhea and/or vomiting (14.2 %) and respiratory distress (not related to infection) (13.4 %). The median duration of hospital stay was 4 (0-27) days. Majority of the patients were discharged home (65.1 %). However, a significant portion (33.1 %) of the patients did not survive the hospitalization. Following discharge from the hospital, at 4-weeks follow-up the survival rate was 38.7 %. This dropped to 21.7 % at 8-weeks. Conclusion: Patients with advanced disease have a multitude of reasons to seek acute inpatient care. Majority of the patients were discharged following care. However, the survival rate of patients following discharge was low.
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