Supportive Care

Primary Palliative Care Clinical Implications: Oncology Nursing During the COVID-19 Pandemic

William E. Rosa Constance Dahlin

Vanessa Battista

Catherine S. Finlayson

Renee E. Wisniewski

Kelly Greer

Betty R. Ferrell
primary palliative care, quality of life, COVID-19, pandemic, end-of-life care
CJON 2021, 25(2), 119-125. DOI: 10.1188/21.CJON.119-125

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect the health and well-being of individuals and communities worldwide. Patients with cancer are particularly vulnerable to experiencing serious health-related suffering from COVID-19. This requires oncology nurses in inpatient and clinic settings to ensure the delivery of primary palliative care while considering the far-reaching implications of this public health crisis. With palliative care skills fully integrated into oncology nursing practice, health organizations and cancer centers will be better equipped to meet the holistic needs of patients with cancer and their families receiving care for serious illness, including improved attention to physical, psychosocial, cultural, spiritual, and ethical considerations.


  • Palliative care is an integral component of comprehensive cancer care throughout the illness trajectory.
  • COVID-19 has increased the burden of serious health-related suffering for patients with cancer, requiring enhanced primary palliative oncology nursing skills.
  • Oncology nurses should integrate primary palliative care skills while considering the myriad psychosocial, physical, and spiritual consequences of COVID-19.
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