Monday 10th September 2012
A new study led by Dr Dan Munday will investigate people’s experiences of an emergency admission to hospital.
Emergency admissions among people with cancer, have increased by about 50% in the last eight years, while elective admissions have only increased by 8%. Emergency admissions of people with cancer often lead to poor patient experience and a lack of timely and appropriate care after admission.
They are also very costly for the NHS.
Dr Dan Munday, Associate Clinical Professor in Palliative Medicine at the University of Warwick, is leading a study which will explore the experiences of patients, carers and health professionals who have been involved in an emergency admission to hospital.
The study is part of the work being done by the Macmillan Palliative and Cancer Care Research Collaborative (MacPaCC). Patients and their carers will be interviewed, and each patient will be asked to nominate community health or social care professionals and hospital staff, who will provide a professional perspective on the admission.
‘We recognise the extent of the problem, but we have very little understanding of patients’ own experiences of an emergency admission,’ says Dan. ‘This lack of understanding matters since there are various initiatives underway to reduce emergency admissions. The End of Life Care Strategy
, for example, has highlighted the importance of preventing inappropriate admissions at the end of life.’
Amid this activity, says Dan, ‘we want to ensure that the patient’s voice is heard.’Dan is especially interested in exploring what leads to patients’ emergency admissions, and the benefits or problems associated with the hospital stay that followed.
The study team will be recruiting 30 people with lung cancer, and comparing and contrasting their experiences with a smaller group of 15 people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).The study is focusing on people with lung cancer because they are generally among the most disadvantaged group of people with cancer. Often, the disease is incurable upon diagnosis, a person’s condition deteriorates rapidly, and they suffer from a particularly heavy burden of symptoms.
Through the comparison between lung cancer and COPD, Dan particularly wants to explore access to services for people with similar symptoms but different diseases (some people have both lung cancer and COPD). ‘There is some evidence that people with non-cancer diagnoses have less access to community services than people with cancer,’ he says. ‘But we really want toexplore this issue in-depth.’
Through this research, Macmillan will develop its understanding of how hospital management can be improved for patients following admission. Insights from the study will also help develop community and hospital services to reduce or avoid emergency admissions at the end of life.
1. Richards M. Transforming inpatient cancer care: Transforming Care for Cancer Patients – Spreading the Winning Principles and Good Practice Conference
. 7 July 2009. (accessed 9 Sept 2009).
Email Dr Dan Munday, Warwick Medical School.