Outcomes of an Acute Palliative Care Unit at a Comprehensive Cancer Center in Korea

Si Won Lee, Jung Hye Kwon, Seung Hoon Beom, Sang Joon Shin, Hyo Song Kim, Sun Young Rha, Minkyu Jung, Joo Hyuk Sohn, Joong Bae Ahn, Hyun Cheol Chung, Gun Min Kim, Hye Ryun Kim, Beodeul Kang, Youn Jung Hu, Hye Jin Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The acute palliative care unit (APCU) bridges between active cancer treatment and hospice care. However, no study has proven the efficacy of APCU in Korea. Objective: To evaluate the first-year outcomes of the patients admitted to an APCU at a tertiary hospital in Korea. Design: The APCU admitted 205 patients between April 14, 2014, and April 30, 2015. Of these patients, 57 were evaluable for baseline and one-week follow-up Edmonton Symptom Assessment System (ESAS). Results: Of the 57 participants, 56.1% were male, with a median age of 60 years (range, 52.8-69.5 years). All patients had advanced cancer, and 42 out of 57 had terminal illnesses. The median APCU stay was 14 days (range, 10-17 days). The 42 (73.7%) patients were referred to the APCU after anticancer treatment was completed. Ten (17.5%) patients died during their stay, and 20 (35.1%) were discharged home. Among those who completed the ESAS, there were significant improvements in scores in the following symptoms: fatigue, depression, loss of appetite, and shortness of breath. Physical symptoms (pain, fatigue, nausea, drowsiness, appetite, and shortness of breath) and the total ESAS scores were significantly improved (p = 0.002 and p = 0.005, respectively). Each non-medical palliative care program, such as art and music therapy, yoga, foot massage, haircut, and body care, showed no significant differences between the group who received them and those who did not. Conclusion: During the APCU stay, the overall symptoms of inpatients were reduced. A comprehensive and multidisciplinary team approach is essential for patients who need palliative care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-16
Number of pages8
JournalPalliative Medicine Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Jan 1

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Si Won Lee et al., 2022; Published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. 2022.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine
  • Advanced and Specialised Nursing


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