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J Palliat Med ; 24(11): 1689-1696, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1280060


Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred unprecedented need for specialty palliative care. The Palliative Care Quality Collaborative (PCQC) provides unique infrastructure for rapid data collection and analysis. Objectives: To capture and describe real-time, real-world experiences of specialty palliative care professionals caring for patients with COVID-19 through a rapid reporting tool and registry. Setting: Palliative care clinicians consulted for patients either positive for COVID-19, under investigation for COVID-19, or recovered from COVID-19. Design: The PCQC created a 13-item COVID-19 case report form (CRF), modeled after the PCQC core dataset for specialty palliative care quality measurement. Twelve items offered discrete answer choices and one was open-ended. The CRF was publicized widely (e.g., social media, e-mail list serves) and completed through a link on the PCQC website. Results: Three hundred six reports (298 adult, 8 pediatric) were submitted between April 6, 2020 and October 7, 2020. The majority of patients (83%) were 50 years or older; 25% were 80 or older, and 78% were COVID-19 positive. Male gender identity was significantly more prevalent than female (58% vs. 40%, p < 0.002). The most common comorbidity was cardiovascular disease (23%). Of adult hospital-based patients, 69% were full code before palliative care consultation versus 28% after (p < 0.05). All pediatric patients were full code before and after palliative care consult. Qualitative themes were strained communication with patients, family visitation challenges, communication barriers between clinicians and families, rapid changes in palliative care medical management, community care options difficult to find, lack of testing in community-based settings, and guardianship and legal challenges. Conclusion: Preliminary data from the first 306 patients reported to the PCQC COVID-19 Registry describe palliative care use concentrated among older and higher risk patients and challenges to the provision of palliative care during this pandemic.

COVID-19 , Palliative Care , Adult , COVID-19/therapy , Child , Female , Humans , Male , Pandemics
JCO Oncol Pract ; 17(7): e427-e438, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1278136


INTRODUCTION: The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented global crisis profoundly affecting oncology care delivery. PURPOSE: This study will describe the occupational and personal consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on oncologist well-being and patient care. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Four virtual focus groups were conducted with US ASCO member oncologists (September-November 2020). Inquiry and subsequent discussions centered on self-reported accounts of professional and personal COVID-19 experiences affecting well-being, and oncologist recommendations for well-being interventions that the cancer organization and professional societies (ASCO) might implement were explored. Qualitative interviews were analyzed using Framework Analysis. RESULTS: Twenty-five oncologists were interviewed: median age 44 years (range: 35-69 years), 52% female, 52% racial or ethnic minority, 76% medical oncologists, 64% married, and an average of 51.5 patients seen per week (range: 20-120). Five thematic consequences emerged: (1) impact of pre-COVID-19 burnout, (2) occupational or professional limitations and adaptations, (3) personal implications, (4) concern for the future of cancer care and the workforce, and (5) recommendations for physician well-being interventions. Underlying oncologist burnout exacerbated stressors associated with disruptions in care, education, research, financial practice health, and telemedicine. Many feared delays in cancer screening, diagnosis, and treatment. Oncologists noted personal and familial stressors related to COVID-19 exposure fears and loss of social support. Many participants strongly considered working part-time or taking early retirement. Yet, opportunities arose to facilitate personal growth and rise above pandemic adversity, fostering greater resilience. Recommendations for organizational well-being interventions included psychologic or peer support resources, flexible time-off, and ASCO and state oncology societies involvement to develop care guidelines, well-being resources, and mental health advocacy. CONCLUSION: Our study suggests that the COVID-19 pandemic has adversely affected oncologist burnout, fulfillment, practice health, cancer care, and workforce. It illuminates where professional organizations could play a significant role in oncologist well-being.

COVID-19 , Oncologists , Adult , Burnout, Psychological , Female , Humans , Male , Minority Groups , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
Am Soc Clin Oncol Educ Book ; 41: e339-e353, 2021 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1249568


Optimizing the well-being of the oncology clinician has never been more important. Well-being is a critical priority for the cancer organization because burnout adversely impacts the quality of care, patient satisfaction, the workforce, and overall practice success. To date, 45% of U.S. ASCO member medical oncologists report experiencing burnout symptoms of emotional exhaustion and depersonalization. As the COVID-19 pandemic remains widespread with periods of outbreaks, recovery, and response with substantial personal and professional consequences for the clinician, it is imperative that the oncologist, team, and organization gain direct access to resources addressing burnout. In response, the Clinician Well-Being Task Force was created to improve the quality, safety, and value of cancer care by enhancing oncology clinician well-being and practice sustainability. Well-being is an integrative concept that characterizes quality of life and encompasses an individual's work- and personal health-related environmental, organizational, and psychosocial factors. These resources can be useful for the cancer organization to develop a well-being blueprint: a detailed start plan with recognized strategies and interventions targeting all oncology stakeholders to support a culture of community in oncology.

Burnout, Professional/psychology , Medical Oncology/methods , Neoplasms/therapy , Oncologists/psychology , Stress, Psychological/prevention & control , Burnout, Psychological/prevention & control , Burnout, Psychological/psychology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/virology , Humans , Internet , Job Satisfaction , Medical Oncology/organization & administration , Neoplasms/diagnosis , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Social Support , United States