Experiences of caregivers and hospice leaders with telehealth for palliative care: a mixed methods study
Author ORCID Identifier
M. Courtney Hughes: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8699-5701
Annals of Palliative Medicine
Background: Telehealth was expanded worldwide during the COVID-19 pandemic to deliver essential care remotely to patients, including those receiving palliative care. Bipartisan groups of politicians in the United States call for continuing the expanded Medicare coverage of telehealth services beyond the pandemic period. The aim was to understand telehealth’s benefits and risks to hospice and palliative care patients and their families. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional survey of 595 caregivers of seriously ill patients and interviewed 25 hospice leaders across the United States. We used multiple linear regression to analyze the survey data and qualitative methods to determine themes from the interview data. Results: Our survey showed that a good internet connection, better access to video, and the patient being younger than 65 years old were associated with greater satisfaction with telehealth. The hospice leader interviews highlighted that telehealth can enhance or detract from quality care, depending on the function; confusion over telehealth policies and concern for abuse exists; and telehealth during the pandemic has spurred on technology-enabled innovation and improvements, especially for resource-constrained hospice and palliative care organizations. Conclusions: Telehealth used during the pandemic showed that it may work for certain hospice and palliative care services. As telehealth coverage expands, it is important to address its risks and shortcomings upfront. When designed and implemented with the patient and equity in mind, telehealth has the potential to improve access to hospice and palliative care for all.
COVID-19, end of life, hospice, palliative care, Telehealth
Hughes, M. Courtney; Vernon, Erin; Kowalczyk, Monica; and Zhou, Haiming, "Experiences of caregivers and hospice leaders with telehealth for palliative care: a mixed methods study" (2022). NIU Bibliography. 10.
School of Health Studies; Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science