Original Article

Evaluation of Terminal-Stage Cancer Patients Needing Palliative Care in the Emergency Department


  • Nurşah Başol
  • Nagehan Çeltek
  • Tufan Alatlı
  • İlyas Koç
  • Mustafa Süren

Received Date: 05.06.2014 Accepted Date: 05.08.2014 Eurasian J Emerg Med 2015;14(1):12-15


There are many difficulties in providing palliative care in the emergency department (ED). However, emergency physicians have to be qualified in palliative care. The aim of this study was to describe the characteristics of palliative care patients admitted to the ED and to determine the current state of such patients in the ED.

Materials and Methods:

The study included 153 terminal-stage cancer patients who needed palliative care and were admitted to the ED over a period of a year. The demographic characteristics, complaints, time duration in the ED, and characteristics of multiple admissions to the ED were evaluated.


The mean age of the patients was 69±3 years and the male/female ratio was 1.3. The most common complaint was nausea-vomiting (37%), followed by pain (32%). Lung cancer was the most common cancer type. Furthermore, 47.7% of the patients had multiple admissions to the ED. The hospitalization rate decreased as the number of admissions increased.


EDs play an important role in the management of palliative care patients. The importance of palliative care should be emphasized to increase emergency physicians’ knowledge, experience, and skills about providing proper care to these patients.

Keywords: Palliative care, emergency department, cancer