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Strengths and Struggles for Families Involved in Hospice Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Background: The COVID-19 pandemic presented unique health and social challenges for hospice patients, their families, and care providers. Methods: This qualitative study explored the impact of the pandemic on this population through the experiences and perceptions of social workers in hospice care. A survey was distributed through national and local listservs to social work practitioners throughout the United States between May 15 and June 15, 2020. Objectives: The study was designed to learn the following: (1) Concerns patients experienced as a result of the pandemic, (2) strengths/resilience factors for patients during the COVID-19 pandemic, and (3) the personal and professional impact of the pandemic on social workers. Results: Themes uncovered in hospice care included isolation, barriers to communication, disruption of systems, issues related to grieving, family and community support, adaptation, and perspective. Conclusions: The authors provide recommendations for social work practice related to virtual communication, emergency planning, and evidence-based intervention for Persistent Complex Bereavement Disorder. Recommendations for policy include uniform essential worker status for social workers, telehealth reimbursement and expanded caregiver respite benefits.

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Key Information

Type of Reference
Type of Work
Journal article
Taylor & Francis
Publication Year
Issue Number
Journal Titles
Journal of Social Work in End-of-Life & Palliative Care
Volume Number
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