COVID-19 has affected healthcare in profound and unprecedented ways, distorting the experiences of patients and healthcare professionals (HCPs) alike. One area that has received little attention is how COVID-19 affected HCPs caring for dying patients. The goal of this study was to examine the experiences of HCPs working with dying patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. Between July 2020-July 2021, we recruited HCPs (N = 25) across Canada. We conducted semi-structured interviews, using a qualitative study design rooted in constructivist grounded theory methodology. The core themes identified were the impact of the pandemic on care utilization, the impact of infection control measures on provision of care, moral distress in the workplace, impact on psychological wellbeing, and adaptive strategies to help HCPs manage emotions and navigate pandemic imposed changes. This is the first Canadian study to qualitatively examine the experiences of HCPs providing care to dying patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. Implications include informing supportive strategies and shaping policies for HCPs providing palliative care.
Authors: Lily Pankratz, Gagan Gill, Salina Pirzada, Kelsey Papineau, Kristin Reynolds, Christian La Riviere, James M Bolton, Jennifer M Hensel, Kendiss Olafson, Maia S Kredentser, Renée El-Gabalawy, Tim Hiebert, Harvey Max Chochinov
Journal: Death studies
Date published: 2023 Nov 8
Pankratz L, Gill G, Pirzada S, Papineau K, Reynolds K, Riviere C, Bolton JM, Hensel JM, Olafson K, Kredentser MS, El-Gabalawy R, Hiebert T, Chochinov HM. “It took so much of the humanness away”: Health care professional experiences providing care to dying patients during COVID-19. Death Stud. 2023 Nov 8:1-13. doi: 10.1080/07481187.2023.2266639. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 37938174.