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.
Keywords: Communication skills; coronavirus disease 2019; end-of-life care; palliative care; psychosocial care; spiritual care.
Copyright: © 2020 Indian Journal of Palliative Care.