How can patients with COVID-19 and their family or unpaid carers be enabled and supported to manage palliative care treatment safely and effectively at home?

France, Rachel; Vseteckova, Jitka; Lapwood, Susie; Roberts, Nia; Jones, Nicholas and Flemming, Kate (2020). How can patients with COVID-19 and their family or unpaid carers be enabled and supported to manage palliative care treatment safely and effectively at home? Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine.

URL: https://www.cebm.net/covid-19/how-can-patients-wit...

Abstract

Healthcare systems have had to adapt rapidly to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, some family and unpaid carers may take on additional responsibilities in providing palliative care treatment for patients who have opted to die at home. However, carers may feel unsure about their role in providing end-of-life care and where to turn for support and treatment for their relative.
We found no empirical research that has been conducted during the current COVID-19 pandemic to inform how to support carers of people receiving palliative care at home or to clarify whether this approach is safe for all involved.
Research assessing the needs of home carers in other palliative care contexts suggests carers may be enabled to manage medication at home, provided that appropriate support and education is given, and that carers have the required capabilities.
The use of digital technology can help, but healthcare professionals should be aware that not all carers have access to suitable equipment.
Providing education for carers, relevant to their caring role, as well as supporting their general wellbeing, can be of benefit. However, providing formal, structured interventions presents considerable challenges during the pandemic.

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