Telehealth is increasingly being adopted to bring palliative care (PC) into the homes of seriously ill patients and their families. It has an increasing role in response to COVID-19: care of patients and families require social distancing for their protection and for the protection of health care professionals.
Uses for telehealth in PC
: for visits that involve acute issues (i.e., a new symptom), for conversations on care planning, for regular check-ins to see how the patient and caregivers are doing, or for caregiver education and support. Telehealth can help the patient and family to feel more connected to their palliative care team.
: for interdisciplinary team meetings and/or consultations with other treating clinicians.
Some institutions authorize telehealth to be used to care for PC and non-PC patients in ambulatory settings, whenever possible; they also offer social work and chaplaincy support.
Patients who receive PC by telehealth are typically very satisfied with the convenience and timesaving of video care.
A satisfaction survey conducted of PC patients and caregivers who had at least one PC care visit by telehealth found that 97.1% of patients and 100% of caregivers felt comfortable having sensitive and emotional conversations by video.
See reference for more information.
Adapted from Calton B, Abedini N and Fratkin M. Telemedicine in the time of coronavirus. J Pain Symptom Manage, 60 (2020), p.450 Internet. Available at
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0885392420301706. Accessed on November 7, 2020.