Palliative Care in a Pandemic

A Retrospective Review of the Impact of Early Palliative Care Consultation During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic

Rachel M. Sabolish, MSN; Jennifer M. Wilson, MS; Hollie K. Caldwell, PhD


Journal of Hospice and Palliative Nursing. 2022;24(1):50-56. 

In This Article


Coronavirus disease 2019 data indicated 511 patients were tested for COVID-19 between March 1 and May 31, 2020. One hundred eighty-five (185) patients were ineligible due to being treated and released from the emergency department or having received a PC consult order more than 72 hours after admission. One hundred seventy-four (174) COVID-19 PUIs received an early PC consult, and 152 COVID-19 PUIs were not seen by PC. There was a statistically significant difference in mean age and length of stay between the 2 groups. Most of the patients in the group not seen by PC were negative for COVID-19. See Table 1 for the comparison of age and length of stay and Table 2 for the results of the demographic comparison of sex, race/ethnicity, and COVID-19 test result.

The researchers hypothesized there would be a statistical difference in the outcomes between the COVID-19 PUIs who received an early PC consult and those who were not seen by PC. The P value (α = .05) was calculated to determine the absolute difference in proportions between the 2 independent groups. The absolute difference between COVID-19 PUIs who received an early PC consult compared with those who did not receive PC was statistically significant for each of the 4 outcomes examined (Table 3). Patients seen by PC were more likely to require resources at discharge such as home health care or transfer to a facility setting (Table 4). Implementation of the early PC workflow for COVID-19 PUIs resulted in all but 17 PUIs (5.2%) admitted during the first surge receiving a PC consult. Some of these patients may have been referred for PC, but the team was unable to complete consultation because of limited resources.