<imgsrc=”” border=”0″ align=”left” alt=”image”>Purpose of review
A rapid review was conducted to synthesize evidence of palliative care delivery changes during the COVID-19 pandemic. Changes were synthesized according to the eight domains of high-quality palliative care and enduring implications for oncology nurses beyond the pandemic discussed.
The most significant changes occurred in the structure and processes of palliative care (Domain 1), where increased utilization of telehealth was critical in circumventing barriers imposed by COVID-19 mitigation. The suboptimal availability of community-based psychosocial supports for patients and caregivers and inadequate health system-based psychosocial supports for healthcare providers were highlighted (Domains 3–5). The pandemic also ushered in an increased emphasis on the need for advance care planning (ACP), where integrating its delivery earlier in the outpatient setting and shifting policy to promote subsequent virtual documentation (Domain 8) were essential to ensure care preferences were clarified and accessible before health crises occurred.
Continuing to embrace and sustain systems-level changes with respect to telehealth, psychosocial supports, and ACP are critical to bridging gaps in palliative care delivery underscored by the pandemic. Oncology nurses are well positioned to fill these gaps in care beyond the pandemic by providing evidence-based, palliative care throughout the cancer continuum.