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How the Pandemic affected Hospice Palliative Care

A new paper by Associate Professor John MacArtney and colleagues in the Primary Care and Community Network, Warwick Applied Health, takes an in-depth look at how different narratives of the pandemic affected hospice palliative care in the first two-years of Covid-19. It is the first paper to provide an in-depth exploration across multiple key groups involved with hospices – managers, frontline staff, carers, and patients.

The team found that that the early period of the pandemic significantly affected understandings of what hospice palliative care could be, often by compromising central ideals of providing holistic and timely care to promote quality of life left. At times, the pandemic generated an “existential crisis” for hospice palliative care – one that may still be affecting how hospices mitigate Covid-19 today.

They also highlight how the ableism within the later “living with covid” period poses a particular problem for hospice palliative care. This is because hospices struggled to get back to “normal” as covid continues to pose a risk to the amount and quality of life left of those with life-limiting conditions. However, those involved with hospices also sought to avoid a return to emergency period’s covid mitigations, which had led to serious reductions in their capacity to provide or receive holistic and timely care.

Although focused on experiences of those involved with hospices in the first two-years of the pandemic, the paper provides insights that will translate to other healthcare settings, especially any concerned with maintaining quality of life while “living with (getting) covid”.

The paper draws on evidence collected during the UKRI ESRC funded ‘Impact of Covid-19 on Hospices Study’:

MacArtney, J.I., Eccles, E., Fleming, J., Grimley, C., Dale, J., Almack, K., Mayland, C., Mitchel, S., Driscoll, R., Hammond, R., Tatnell, L., Roberts, L. (2024) Pandemic narratives in stories about hospice palliative care: The impact of Covid-19 upon ideals of timely, holistic care and quality of life. SSM - Qualitative Research in Health.