Cancer patients in regional Victoria is increasing in number and a Resident Oncology Service (ROS) was set up to provide an easily accessible service. The aim of this study was to gain information about solid tumour patients presenting to regional hospitals following chemotherapy.
The ROS was set up in January 2012. Retrospective review of all oncology patients managed in the Emergency Department (ED) from July 2011 to September 2011 and January 2012 to March 2012 was performed.
161 solid cancer patients visited the ED during the six months period, 70 before ROS and 91 after, with a cancer type break down of 34.7% gastrointestinal, 23.6% breast, 11.2% lungs, 2.5% hepatobiliary, and 26.1% others. Of those, 97 (60.25%) were metastatic and 106 (65.8%) were on adjuvant therapy. Diagnosis was grouped into four categories; cancer related problems 38.5%, treatment related problems 19.9%, infection 14.3% and non- cancer related problem 27.3%. Treatments include antibiotic administration 25.5%, pain management 18.6%, anti-coagulation 6.8%, surgical procedures including drainage 6.8% and others 42.2%. Of the 161 patients, 29.2% were admitted, 3.1% died during the stay, 3.7% were referred to hospice and 5.0% were transferred to other hospitals. Median length of stay before and after ROS were 3 (range, 1-14 days) and 4 (range 1-22 days).
Resident Oncology Service plays an important role in managing oncology patients in regional areas. However, more data is required as the service is in its infancy stage. Improving the protocols in the ED and in the oncology service would lead to improvements in service.