Palliative care for patients with gastrointestinal cancer dying under surgical care: a case for acute palliative care units?

J. A. Young, L. Waugh, G. McPhillips, P. Levack, A. M. Thompson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    3 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Background and aims: Patients with advanced gastrointestinal cancer may present late to hospital services and die under surgical care. The aim of this study was to examine end of life care in patients dying of gastrointestinal cancer in Scottish hospital surgical wards. Methods: The Scottish Audit of Surgical Mortality prospectively peer reviews all inpatient deaths under the care of a consultant surgeon. Patients who died with gastrointestinal cancer under surgical care from 1994 to 2006 were evaluated for operative interventions, adverse events, and palliative care provision. Data was compared with inpatient data from the Information Statistics Division of NHS Scotland. Results: A total of 8019 patients died with gastrointestinal cancer on a surgical ward over 12 years. For 4350 (54%), no operation or endoscopy was performed during the final admission and adverse events were identified in only 86 (2%) of these patients, most commonly due to a complication of an interventional procedures. Specialist palliative care was provided to 57% of patients and was not influenced by cancer site. Conclusion: A substantial proportion of patients die with gastrointestinal cancer on general surgical wards without operative or endoscopic intervention and may receive better end of life care in an acute palliative care setting.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)72-75
    Number of pages4
    JournalSurgeon: Journal of the Royal Colleges of Surgeons of Edinburgh and Ireland
    Volume11
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013

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