Virtual volunteers: the importance of restructuring medical volunteering during the COVID-19 pandemic

Med Humanit. 2020 Aug 20;medhum-2020-011956. doi: 10.1136/medhum-2020-011956. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Healthcare systems have postponed medical volunteering services in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, much of the aid provided by these volunteers is crucial to patient care and hospital functioning in the American healthcare system. The adoption of online video conferencing platforms in healthcare-telehealth-offers a novel solution for volunteering during this pandemic. Virtual volunteering can alleviate pressures on medical workers, enhance patient experiences, reduce the risk of viral infection and provide a sense of normalcy for patients and families. Although further study is required, this should be an avenue considered by health systems.

Keywords: end of life care; health care education; health policy; medical education; medical humanities.