Discharge from a palliative care unit: Prevalence and related factors from a retrospective study in Japan

Mitsunori Miyashita, Kazuko Arai, Yosuke Yamada, MacHiko Owada, Tomoyo Sasahara, Masako Kawa, Taketo Mukaiyama

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13 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Selecting a place for end-of-life care is an important issue for patients with cancer. In this study we conducted a retrospective analysis on the prevalence of discharge from a palliative care unit (PCU) and explored factors related to discharge based on individual-level data from 5 years of experience at the Tokyo Metropolitan Toshima Hospital PCU. Methods: We retrospectively collected information on patients and families from the admission database of the PCU. We calculated the prevalence of patients discharged from the PCU and explored the factors related to discharge using bivariate and multivariate analysis. Results: The subjects were 498 terminal patients with cancer. The overall discharge rate was 33%. For subjects who were admitted for symptom control, the discharge rate was 54%. The duration of the period from referral to death (odds ratio [OR] = 4.98, p < 0.001), Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group Performance States [ECOG PS]-OR = 0.51, p = 0.003), problems with oral intake (OR = 0.41, p = 0048), presence of nausea (OR = 0.41, p = 0.046), experience of radiation therapy (OR = 0.27, p = 0.003), and patient's anxiety for family (OR = 0.35, p = 0.029) were independent related factors for discharge from the PCU, according to logistic regression. Conclusion: Early referral to the PCU and development of alleviation methods for symptoms such as nausea and anxiety and depression are important for promoting discharge and would contribute to the patient's quality of life at the end of life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)142-149
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Palliative Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Feb 1


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