Hull York Medical School contributes to world's first consensus-based guidance on palliative care in COVID-19

12 August 2020
Wolfson Palliative Care Research Centre

Researchers from the Wolfson Palliative Care Research Centre at Hull York Medical School, University of Hull have contributed to the world’s first consensus-based guidance on palliative care in COVID-19, as part of an international task force. 

As of 11 August 2020 there have been over 19,936,210 cases of COVID-19, with 732,499 confirmed deaths.1 Yet despite a need for palliative care  providing high quality care is challenging. The European Respiratory Society International Task force brought together experts in palliative care, respiratory medicine and critical care medicine with the aim of providing consensus-based recommendations for palliative care during COVID-19. These recommendations are to help clinicians to improve palliative care services and support to patients around the world. 

Professor Miriam Johnson, Director of the Wolfson Palliative Care Research Centre at Hull York Medical School, University of Hull says: ‘The effects of COVID-19 can be felt around the world. Despite an increased need for palliative care, providing high quality care during this time is challenging with healthcare systems under increasing pressure and palliative care being delivered by clinicians who may not have expertise in this field. The aim of the task force was to provide clear guidance for palliative care during COVID-19, agreed by experts round the world, which could be applied in healthcare settings globally’. 

The guidance published in the European Respiratory Journal emphasises the need for excellent symptom control as well as conversations about medical treatment plans tailored to the individual's needs. It also recognises the need for compassionate communication with patients and their families. 

Prof David Currow, Professor of Palliative Care Research, Associate Director (Research) of the Wolfson Palliative Care Research who was also a contributor says: ‘This is a personally and professionally challenging time for healthcare professionals who are working tirelessly in difficult circumstances to provide the best care they can for patients. Like other areas of medicine, while underlying principles remain, specific guidance related to the unique circumstances at the time is critical. Bringing together experts from across the world provided valuable insight and enabled us to develop consensus guidance on palliative care in COVID-19.’  

The Wolfson Palliative Care Research Centre at Hull York Medical School, University of Hull brings together researchers from a range of disciplines and focuses on increasing understanding and developing interventions which address the palliative care queries, concerns and needs of patients and their families. Clinical and academic researchers within the Centre work collaboratively across the UK and worldwide with the aim of widening the knowledge base of palliative care research to improve the experiences of those patients and their families living with life-limiting illnesses. 

COVID-19: Guidance on Palliative Care from a European Respiratory Society International Task Force.  

Find out more about the work of the Wolfson Palliative Care Research Centre 

  1. Figures from the World Health Organisation