Creating a Palliative Care Inpatient Response Plan for COVID19 – The UW Medicine Experience
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[Abstract]. Introduction: The COVID-19 pandemic is stressing healthcare systems throughout the world. Significant numbers of patients are being admitted to the hospital with severe illness, often in the setting of advanced age and underlying co-morbidities. Therefore, palliative care is an important part of the response to this pandemic. The Seattle area and UW Medicine have been on the forefront of the pandemic in the US. Methods: UW Medicine developed a strategy to implement a palliative care response for a multi-hospital healthcare system that incorporates conventional capacity, contingency capacity, and crisis capacity. The strategy was developed by our palliative care programs with input from the healthcare system leadership. Results: In this publication, we share our multi-faceted strategy to implement high-quality palliative care in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic that incorporates conventional, contingency, and crisis capacity and focuses on the areas of the hospital caring for the most patients: the emergency department, the intensive care units, and the acute care services. The strategy focuses on key content areas including identifying and addressing goals of care, addressing moderate and severe symptoms, and supporting family members. Conclusions: Strategy planning for delivery of high-quality palliative care in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic represents an important area of need for our healthcare systems. We share our experiences developing such a strategy to help other institutions conduct and adapt such strategies more quickly.