The emergency room presents bit of a paradox for many cancer patients, according to a new article published in the journal Oncology Nurse Advisor: A trip to the ED is risky for anyone with a compromised immune system—which would apply to many oncology patients—but at the same time cancer and related treatment can cause a seemingly endless list of complications that require immediate attention. “Visiting the ED is often a portal to hospitalization for these patients,” the authors write. “Surely there is a better way.” While it’s not mentioned specifically in the article, urgent care could surely be one such “better way.” The report calls out pain, fever, abdominal and respiratory concerns, and dehydration as the most common complaints that drive people with a cancer diagnosis to the ED. These are all concerns that can be assessed, and often treated, in the urgent care setting. Indeed, the article says the rate of preventable hospitalizations for cancer patients may be as high as 50%, and the authors cite the need for more research “to identify the optimal strategies that would reduce ED visits, hospitalizations, and rehospitalizations for patients with cancer.” We might recommend that they (and you) read New Urgent Care Models Help Cancer Patients in the JUCM archives for some insights into the role urgent care centers can play.

Onc Journal Advocates Trying to Keep Cancer Patients Out of the ED
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