Predictive factors of basic palliative and hospice care among patients with cancer visiting the emergency department in a Hungarian tertiary care center

Heliyon. 2024 Apr 6;10(8):e29348. doi: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2024.e29348. eCollection 2024 Apr 30.


Introduction: Patients with advanced cancer tend to utilize the services of the health care system, particularly emergency departments (EDs), more often, however EDs aren't necessarily the most ideal environments for providing care to these patients. The objective of our study was to analyze the clinical and demographic characteristics of advanced patients with cancer receiving basic palliative care (BPC) or hospice care (HC), and to identify predictive factors of BPC and HC prior to their visit to the ED, in a large tertiary care center in Hungary.

Methods: A retrospective, detailed analysis of patients receiving only BPC or HC, out of 1512 patients with cancer visiting the ED in 2018, was carried out. Sociodemographic and clinical data were collected via automated and manual chart review. Patients were followed up to determine length of survival. Descriptive and exploratory statistical analyses were performed.

Results: Hospital admission, multiple (≥4x) ED visits, and respiratory cancer were independent risk factors for receiving only BPC (OR: 3.10, CI: 1.90-5.04; OR: 2.97, CI: 1.50-5.84; OR: 1.82, CI: 1.03-3.22, respectively), or HC (OR: 2.15, CI: 1.26-3.67; OR: 4.94, CI: 2.51-9.71; OR: 2.07, CI: 1.10-3.91). Visiting the ED only once was found to be a negative predictive factor for BPC (OR: 0.28, CI: 0.18-0.45) and HC (OR: 0.18, 0.10-0.31) among patients with cancer visiting the ED.

Conclusions: Our study is the first from this European region to provide information regarding the characteristics of patients with cancer receiving BPC and HC who visited the ED, as well as to identify possible predictive factors of receiving BPC and HC. Our study may have relevant implications for health care planning strategies in practice.

Keywords: Advanced patients with cancer; Cancer; Emergency department; Emergency department visit; Hospice care; Hospitalization; Palliative care; Predictive factor.