A study looking at reducing emergency admissions for people with cancer

Cancer type:

All cancer types





This study looked at how to reduce unplanned emergency admissions for people with cancer. It was open to people who live in East Yorkshire.

More about this trial

Sometimes people living with cancer are admitted to hospital as an emergency. Access to good care at home could prevent some of these admissions.

Researchers hoped to develop a programme (or intervention) which would reduce the number of emergency hospital stays people with cancer had. But to do this they needed to understand why they happened.

The study aimed to find out what caused these emergency admissions. The researchers interviewed people with cancer who had recently been admitted to hospital as an emergency.


Summary of results

The study team found the reasons for the emergency admissions of cancer patients and what the process of admission was like.
This study was open for people to join in 2016. 
These results were published in 2018. 
About this study
Over 6 months the study team looked at the number of cancer patients who had at least 1 emergency admission. They wanted to know what:
  • was the reason for each emergency admission
  • was the process of their admissions 
  • they and their carers thought about how the admission was managed 
The team interviewed the cancer patients and their carers about the emergency admissions. This was at a place convenient to the patient and happened usually within 4 weeks of their discharge from hospital. 
The team looked at 20 patients who came into the emergency department. 13 patients had 2 to 4 admissions over the 6 months. The total number of emergency admissions for the 20 patients was 43. 
35 of these 43 emergencies were admitted to hospital because of treatment side effects. Of these:
  • 30 were due to chemotherapy
  • 2 were due to radiotherapy 
  • 3 were due to immunotherapy
38 admissions went to a cancer (oncology) ward:
  • 35 of these were directly admitted to the cancer ward
  • 3 of these were indirectly admitted by way of the hospital’s emergency department
15 cancer patients and 12 carers were interviewed. 
Most patients were admitted to a cancer ward and reported their experience of staying in hospital was outstanding because:
  • the reason for their admission was dealt with quickly and effectively
  • their care in hospital and long term care was continuous and organised 
  • the communication between them and the hospital staff was satisfactory
  • information about their care was shared
  • the staff were motivated and skilled
  • visiting hours were more open
A few patients were admitted to a ward that didn’t specialise in cancer. They reported their experience as being unsatisfactory because:
  • they had to wait longer to be admitted
  • they couldn’t have their medications when they were supposed to, and this affected their cancer care in the long term
  • visiting times were more rigid
  • their needs were unmet because of unsatisfactory levels of care
The study team concluded that future work should focus on:
  • improving access to specialist advice
  • improving how emergency departments handle cancer patients with emergencies 
  • improving the process of admission 
  • providing rapid relief from their symptoms and the side effects of treatment
  • providing satisfactory levels of care in hospital
  • involving all healthcare professionals and healthcare services to provide a seamless circle of care to address the complex needs of cancer patients and their carers 
The study team have also interviewed healthcare professionals in the hospital. They asked them about their experiences of emergency admissions for cancer patients with a confirmed cancer diagnosis. They also asked their opinions about how to reduce and manage these admissions. 
When these results are published we will update this summary. 
Where this information comes from
We have based this summary on information from the research team. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (peer reviewed Open a glossary item) and published in a medical journal. The figures we quote above were provided by the trial team who did the research. We have not analysed the data ourselves.

Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

How to join a clinical trial

Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Professor Una Macleod

Supported by

The Hull York Medical School
Yorkshire Cancer Research

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:


Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Over 60,000 cancer patients enrolled on clinical trials in the UK last year.

Last reviewed:

Rate this page:

Currently rated: 1.5 out of 5 based on 2 votes
Thank you!
We've recently made some changes to the site, tell us what you think