Supportive Care

Telehealth in Palliative Care: Communication Strategies From the COVID-19 Pandemic

Macy L. Stockdill

Michael D. Barnett

Richard Taylor

J. Nicholas Dionne-Odom

Marie Bakitas
palliative care, telehealth, COVID-19, communication, end-of-life care
CJON 2021, 25(1), 17-22. DOI: 10.1188/21.CJON.17-22

Palliative care was once believed to be too high-touch to be delivered via telehealth. However, numerous studies have demonstrated the positive effects of palliative care delivered through telehealth. Because the COVID-19 pandemic has quickly shifted how health care is delivered to patients with cancer, particularly because of their immunocompromised status and the risks associated with unnecessary exposures in the clinic, previous lessons from palliative care research studies can be used to inform practice. This article presents a case study that illustrates evidence and best practices for continuing to deliver palliative care via telehealth after COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.


  • The increased use of telehealth throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has offered renewed insights about palliative care telehealth integration in oncology practice.
  • Evidence-based palliative care communication strategies adapted for the COVID-19 pandemic can be used for more effective communication, including building rapport and establishing trust with patients and families dealing with serious illness.
  • Community-based personnel may provide an additional bridge between oncology providers, patients, and families who are increasing their use of telehealth.
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