Nav: Home

Social distancing and dying alone

June 29, 2020

PHILADELPHIA (June 29, 2020)- The COVID-19 pandemic has led to drastic changes in how hospitals provide end-of-life care to patients and their families. With strict no-visiting limitations in place in an effort to stem contagion, patients have been dying alone.

Extraordinary circumstances require extraordinary problem solving. The pandemic is an opportunity for clinicians to think differently and consider a decision-making framework that minimizes infection risk, honors patient/family relationships, upholds culturally important rituals of dying, and mitigates potential psychological harm precipitated by the trauma of family separation.

In an editorial in the journal Intensive Care Medicine, researchers suggest an alternative pathway to patients dying alone in a hospital. They advocate that infection control, public health concerns, and family-centered care can coexist and urge reconsideration of adult family member presence at the bedside of patients during COVID-19.

"With careful screening, education, pragmatic psychosocially oriented facilitation, and teamwork, we can accommodate the very real needs of patients to not be alone, for families to fulfill their sense of responsibility and duty, and for staff to uphold the tenets of family-centered care," writes Martha A. Q. Curley, PhD, RN, FAAN, Professor of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing (Penn Nursing), one of the editorial's authors. "Dying alone, despite adhering to social distancing, should not be part of dying at all."

The editorial, "Alone, the Hardest Part," is available online. Coauthors of the editorial include Elizabeth Broden, Penn Nursing PhD Student, and Elaine Meyer from the Center for Bioethics, Harvard Medical School.
-end-
About the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing

The University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing is one of the world's leading schools of nursing. For the fifth year in a row, it is ranked the #1 nursing school in the world by QS University and is consistently ranked highly in the U.S. News & World Report annual list of best graduate schools. Penn Nursing is currently ranked # 1 in funding from the National Institutes of Health, among other schools of nursing, for the third consecutive year. Penn Nursing prepares nurse scientists and nurse leaders to meet the health needs of a global society through innovation in research, education, and practice. Follow Penn Nursing on: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, & Instagram

University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing

Related Pandemic Articles:

New Zealanders' attitudes changed after pandemic lockdown
In the first few weeks of the lockdown of New Zealand in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, residents reported a slight increase in mental distress but higher levels of confidence in the government, science and the police, as well as greater patriotism, according to research published by the American Psychological Association.
A risk-tailored approach to reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic
A tailored public health approach that accounts for variation in risks across populations, places and time could guide the next phase of Canada's coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) response, argue authors in a commentary in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).
New model predicts the peaks of the COVID-19 pandemic
This week in the journal Frontiers, researchers describe a single function that accurately describes all existing available data on active COVID-19 cases and deaths -- and predicts forthcoming peaks.
COVID-19 pandemic uniting Canadians like no other event in decades
A new study by researchers from McGill University and the University of Toronto finds a cross-partisan consensus on battling COVID-19 in Canada.
How to identify which interventions work best in a pandemic
In lieu of a vaccine or reliable preventative medications, the only approaches currently available to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 are behavioral -- handwashing, mask-wearing and social distancing, for example.
Nationwide survey about the corona pandemic
Majority feels strained, trusts health measures and favors a wealth tax on the rich.
COVID-19: Lessons to learn about the first 4.0 pandemic
Although the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak was officially presented suddenly in the popular market of exotic and wild animals in Wuhan in December 2019, phylogenetic studies state that coronavirus was already present in latency phase since October in this city in the province of Hubei.
Local climate unlikely to drive the early COVID-19 pandemic
Princeton researchers report in the journal Science that the number of people still vulnerable to COVID-19 and the speed at which the disease spreads means that local climate conditions are not likely to dominate the first wave of the pandemic.
Digital health in the COVID-19 pandemic
Artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain, and other key digital technology applications will play a vital role addressing the new healthcare challenges triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gaps in international law impede pandemic research
The global COVID-19 pandemic reveals gaps in international law that can inhibit the sharing of scientific information, biological samples and genetic sequence data (GSD) crucial to the timely development of diagnostics, antiviral treatments and vaccines to address novel viral threats.
More Pandemic News and Pandemic Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

TED Radio Wow-er
School's out, but many kids–and their parents–are still stuck at home. Let's keep learning together. Special guest Guy Raz joins Manoush for an hour packed with TED science lessons for everyone.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#565 The Great Wide Indoors
We're all spending a bit more time indoors this summer than we probably figured. But did you ever stop to think about why the places we live and work as designed the way they are? And how they could be designed better? We're talking with Emily Anthes about her new book "The Great Indoors: The Surprising Science of how Buildings Shape our Behavior, Health and Happiness".
Now Playing: Radiolab

The Third. A TED Talk.
Jad gives a TED talk about his life as a journalist and how Radiolab has evolved over the years. Here's how TED described it:How do you end a story? Host of Radiolab Jad Abumrad tells how his search for an answer led him home to the mountains of Tennessee, where he met an unexpected teacher: Dolly Parton.Jad Nicholas Abumrad is a Lebanese-American radio host, composer and producer. He is the founder of the syndicated public radio program Radiolab, which is broadcast on over 600 radio stations nationwide and is downloaded more than 120 million times a year as a podcast. He also created More Perfect, a podcast that tells the stories behind the Supreme Court's most famous decisions. And most recently, Dolly Parton's America, a nine-episode podcast exploring the life and times of the iconic country music star. Abumrad has received three Peabody Awards and was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2011.