Yang G.M.J., Ng E, Lian S, Ong M.E.H., (2018). Reasons for emergency department visits among advanced cancer patients in their last week of life. Proceedings of Singapore Healthcare.

Abstract:

For advanced cancer patients, an emergency department (ED) visit in the last week of life may result in aggressive care that is inappropriate and futile. The objective of this study is to explore the characteristics of advanced cancer patients who present to ED in the last week of life. Specifically, we describe the spectrum of presenting symptoms. This was a retrospective cross-sectional study of ED attendances in the Singapore General Hospital during a one-year period. The electronic medical record system was used to retrieve demographic data, characteristics of the ED visits and presenting complaints. A total of 145 patients with advanced cancer dying in hospital within seven days of an ED visit were included. Breathlessness was the most common reason for presenting to ED (85 patients, 58.62%), followed by pain (50 patients, 34.48%), generalised weakness or lethargy (39 patients, 26.90%) and decreased appetite or anorexia (35 patients, 24.14%). Strategies to improve end-of-life care can focus on pre-emptive management of breathlessness and pain. Community programmes can also help prepare families for symptoms like generalised weakness and appetite loss which may signal a progression of the disease. Supportive and palliative care interventions will need to be implemented in the ED setting to better manage the symptoms suffered by these advanced cancer patients.

Year of Publication: 
2018
Publication short description: 

Yang G.M.J., Ng E, Lian S, Ong M.E.H., (2018). Reasons for emergency department visits among advanced cancer patients in their last week of life. Proceedings of Singapore Healthcare.

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