Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 311–317 | Cite as

Unplanned oncology admissions within 14 days of non-surgical discharge: a retrospective study

  • Samantha Gibson
  • Ruth McConigley
Original Article



The aim of this study was to identify the incidence, causes, risk factors and interventions for cancer patients requiring unplanned admissions within 14 days of discharge at a large metropolitan private hospital without a co-located emergency department.


Retrospective data were collected on cancer patients who had an unplanned admission within 14 days of discharge during the period December 1, 2011 and May 31, 2012. Data were collected from the inpatient bed administration database and medical record review. Variables collected included demographics, cancer diagnosis, reasons for admission, interventions, and length of stay.


A total of 133 oncology patients required 206 unplanned admissions (UPAs). The most common cancer diagnoses associated with unplanned readmission were upper gastrointestinal (25.4 %), colorectal (19.6 %), gynaecological (18.8 %) and breast (13.8 %) cancers. The symptoms most commonly associated with unplanned re-admission were pain (16 %); infection not associated with neutropaenia (15.5 %); fever and febrile neutropaenia (14.6 %); nausea, vomiting and dehydration (13.6 %); dyspnoea (8.3 %) and altered neurological status (7.8 %). The median length of stay (LOS) was 6 days. Length of stay during UPA was decreased for patients with a partner and for those who had a palliative care consult. The need for psychological supports was related to a longer LOS during UPA.


Cancer patients are at a significant risk of requiring unscheduled care and admission. Strategies and services to limit the burden on patients and the health care system should be reviewed to minimise the incidence of unplanned admission.


Cancer Oncology Chemotherapy Unplanned admissions Toxicities Emergencies 



The authors wish to thank Professor Duncan Boldy, Research Consultant, for his statistical advice.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest. The corresponding author has full control of all primary data and agrees to allow the journal to review the data if requested.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Solaris Care CentreSt John of God HospitalSubiacoAustralia
  2. 2.School of Nursing and MidwiferyCurtin UniversityPerthAustralia

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