Indian Journal of Palliative Care
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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 26  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 116--120

Psychosocial aspects of COVID-19 in the context of palliative care – A quick review

1 Department of Palliative Medicine and Supportive Care, Kasturba Medical College and Hospital, Manipal, Karnataka, India; School of Medicine, Cardiff, UK
2 Palliative Medicine Western Health Network Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
3 Department of Psychiatry and Palliative Care, Believers Church Medical College Hospital, Tiruvalla, Kerala, India
4 Department of Pain and Palliative care, General Hospital, Ernakulam, Kerala, India; Wolfson Palliative Care Research Centre, University of Hull, Hull, UK
5 Department of Pain and Palliative Medicine, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi; Trivandrum Institute of Palliative Science, Thiruvananthapuram; Institute of Palliative Care, Thrissur, Kerala, India
6 Department of Pain and Palliative Medicine, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi, Kerala, India; Lancaster University, Lancashire, UK
7 Makerere University and Palliative Care Education and Research Consortium, Uganda; Cairdeas International Palliative Care Trust, UK
8 Trivandrum Institute of Palliative Science, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India
9 Pain and Palliative Medicine, Rajagiri Hospital, Aluva, Kerala, India
10 Department of Pain and Palliative care, General Hospital; Covid19 Tele Health Center, Ernakulam, Kerala, India
11 Department of Medical Oncology, Aster Medcity, Kochi, Kerala, India
12 Department of Pain and Palliative care, General Hospital, Aluva, Kerala, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Chitra Venkateswaran
Department of Psychiatry and Palliative Care, BC MCH, Tiruvalla, Kerala
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/IJPC.IJPC_183_20

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In a resource-poor country like India, where the health-care systems are difficult to access, overburdened, and unaffordable to many, the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic can be devastating. The increased burden of serious health-related suffering can impact the well-being of health-care workers, patients, and their families alike. The elderly, the frail, the vulnerable, and those with multiple comorbidities are disproportionately affected. Palliative care, with its comprehensive and inclusive approach, has much to offer in terms of alleviating the suffering, particularly those caused by the distressing physical and psycho-socio-spiritual symptoms, the complex medical decision-making, end-of-life care issues, and grief and bereavement, and needs to be integrated into the pathway of care provision in COVID-19. Psychosocial issues contribute to and amplify suffering and are often underestimated and undertreated and not accessible to many. Empowering frontline professionals in the core concepts of psychosocial support and palliative care thus becomes an absolute necessity. This quick review was done by a group of palliative care physicians and mental health experts from India to develop recommendations for physical and psychosocial care in the context of COVID-19. This review was done as part of that process and highlights the role and challenges of the psychosocial domain of palliative care in the context of COVID-19 situation in India.


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