School/Department

School of Science Technology and Health

Publication Date

7-29-2020

Abstract

Critically ill patients with the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are dying in isolation without the comfort of their family or other social support in unprecedented numbers. Recently, healthcare teams at COVID-19 epicenters have been inundated with critically ill patients. Patients isolated for COVID-19 have had no contact with their family or loved ones and may have likely experienced death without closure. This situation highlights concerns about the psychological and spiritual well-being of patients with COVID-19 and their families, as they permanently part ways. While palliative care has advanced to address these patients' needs adequately, the COVID-19 pandemic presents several barriers that force healthcare teams to deprioritize these essential aspects of patient care. The severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003 gave us a glimpse of these challenges as these patients were also isolated in hospitals. Here, we discuss the importance of the biopsychosocial spiritual model in end-of-life care and its implications on patients dying with COVID-19. Furthermore, we outline an integrative approach to address the unique and holistic needs of critically ill patients dying with COVID-19. These include intentional and increased coordination with trained palliative care staff, early and frequent goals of care including discussion of end-of-life plans, broader use of technology to improve connectedness and shared decision making with patients’ families.

Keywords

COVID-19 (Disease); Isolation (Hospital care)--Psychological aspects; Biopsychosocial-spiritual; Terminal care

Publication Title

Frontiers in Psychology

Rights

the authors

Comments

This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article submitted/accepted for publication in Frontiers in Psychology following peer review. The original paper was submitted for publication in 2020.

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