Palliative Care in Two Pandemics
By Jennifer Moore Ballentine
I had hoped, by this mid-summer moment, that the COVID-19 crisis would be mostly in the rear view – or at least in the rear view and maybe up ahead around a few bends. Instead, we are still right in the middle of it. And palliative care continues to be right in the middle of it.
Skills essential to good palliative care have proved essential in caring for COVID-19 patients: navigating difficult decisions and conversations, managing severe and distressing symptoms, bearing witness and keeping company when family and loved ones are kept away, and – sadly – doing our best to ensure comfort at death.
As I recently noted during a panel discussion for the Coalition to Transform Advanced Care, COVID care is palliative care, and palliative care has never been more relevant and urgently needed.