Call for palliative care to be adapted for severely ill Covid-19 patients

April 16, 2020

Emergency-style palliative care needs to implemented to meet the needs of Covid-19 patients who wouldn't benefit from a ventilator say researchers.

This is the first time that palliative care has been examined in the light of the current global pandemic.

The researchers describe the challenges of providing palliative care where resources are stretched and demand is high, based on their experiences at a hospital in Switzerland close to the Italian border where there are high rates of the illness.

Professor Nancy Preston, Co-Director of Lancaster University's International Observatory on End of Life Care said: "Many patients are too unwell to benefit from ventilation but still need their symptoms managing."

In a paper published in The Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, the researchers explained how palliative care needs to adapt to an emergency style in order to help make the best decisions and support families.

Professor Preston said: "These people require a conservative approach to their treatment, one which provides maximum support for their physical, emotional and spiritual needs - this is where a recognition that palliative care is required is crucial".

The team based their recommendation on caring for severely ill patients with Covid-19 in the Swiss hospital where treatment plans have changed dramatically.

This is due to a range of factors including competition for palliative care drugs, which are also used in ICU, as well as healthcare workers untrained in palliative care being re-allocated from their own specialities to care for patients with Covid-19.

"It is emergency style palliative care because patients can deteriorate quickly and need a rapid response from their health care team. It is crucial that patients with a high symptom burden are assessed and treated quickly - the recommendations in this paper based on front line experience can make a difference. This approach is therefore being used across the hospital, and in emergency departments too."

"Palliative care teams, intensivists and internal medicine specialists all work side by side as palliative care is recognised to be at the forefront of this crisis, as it can offer symptom management, support to families and spiritual care in a timely manner."
-end-
The paper: "Conservative management of Covid-19 patients - emergency palliative care in action" is by Nancy Preston from the International Observatory on End of Life Care at Lancaster University and Lancaster PhD students Tanja Fusi-Schmidhauser and Claudia Gamondi with Nikola Keller from the Palliative and Supportive Care Clinic, Institute of Oncology of Southern Switzerland and Ente Ospedaliero Cantonale, Switzerland.

Lancaster University

Related Palliative Care Articles from Brightsurf:

Palliative care needed across China for everyone who needs it -- study
Palliative care should extend across China and pay more attention to managing non-malignant disease -- integrated within the country's healthcare system and available to everyone who needs it, according to a new study.

New palliative care model shown to reduce costs without compromising on quality of care
Findings from a large-scale clinical trial testing a new palliative care model have shown to be lower cost, viewed positively by patients and their carers while showing no difference in patient-reported outcomes when compared with standard care.

Palliative Care in emergency departments during COVID-19 pandemic
The clinical characteristics and outcomes of patients who received intervention by a COVID-19 palliative care response team are examined in this case series.

Palliative care for patients with cancer in COVID-19 era
The considerations and challenges affecting the palliative care specialty and delivery of palliative care in the COVID-19 era, as well as potential solutions, are discussed in this Viewpoint.

To face coronavirus disease 2019, surgeons must embrace palliative care
This Viewpoint describes the relevance of a palliative care approach to surgery during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.

Call for palliative care to be adapted for severely ill Covid-19 patients
Emergency-style palliative care needs to implemented to meet the needs of Covid-19 patients who wouldn't benefit from a ventilator say researchers.

A COVID-19 palliative care pandemic plan: An essential tool
Palliative care physicians have created a coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) palliative care plan as an essential tool to provide care and help manage scare resources during the pandemic.

MAiD is not driven by socioeconomic vulnerability or poor access to palliative care
A new study of people who received medical assistance in dying (MAiD) in Ontario found that about three-quarters were cared for by palliative care practitioners at the time of their request for MAiD, and MAiD recipients were younger, wealthier and more likely to be married than the general population at time of death.

Palliative vs. standard care for Parkinson's disease
This randomized clinical trial that included 210 patients with Parkinson's disease and related disorders and 175 caregivers examined whether outpatient palliative care was associated with better patient or caregiver outcomes compared with standard care.

Palliative care in hospitals linked to decrease in use of ICU; treatment intensity
A new study shows that implementing hospital-based palliative care services in New York State reduces treatment intensity at the end of life for hospitalized patients.

Read More: Palliative Care News and Palliative Care Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.