Reducing emergency department utilization for outpatient acute cancer symptoms: An integrative review on the advent of urgent cancer clinics

Tammy L. Patel, Shelley Raffin Bouchal, Catherine M. Laing, Stephanie Hubbard


The purpose of this integrative literature review was to identify nursing research opportunities related to outpatient acute cancer symptom management within emerging urgent cancer clinics (UCCs). Patients with acute cancer symptoms (e.g., fevers, gastrointestinal disturbances, or uncontrolled pain) from ambulatory settings predominantly rely on emergency departments (EDs) for assessment and treatment. However, this model of care is no longer sustainable and emphasizes healthcare system inefficiencies. Urgent cancer clinics allow patients to have these symptoms treated by oncology experts within ambulatory cancer centres. Unfortunately, limited research on urgent cancer clinics both operationally and experientially makes it difficult for others to adopt this new model of care. The core questions that guided this integrative review were: 1) What is the state of the science regarding UCCs, and what differences exist when compared to EDs in the management of outpatient acute cancer symptoms? and 2) Where do UCCs exist around the world, and what is understood about UCCs related to clinic operations and staffing models?

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