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Evaluating the use of video communication technology in a hospital specialist palliative care team during the COVID-19 pandemic

Research output: Contribution to journal › Journal article

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  • Benjamin Crosby
  • Sarika Hanchanale
  • Sarah Stanley
  • Amara Nwosu
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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>31/03/2021
<mark>Journal</mark>AMRC Open Research
Issue number5
Volume3
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date28/01/21
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

Background: Healthcare professionals’ use of video communication technology has increased during the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, due to infection control restrictions. Currently there is little published data about the experiences of specialist palliative care teams who are using technology to communicate during the COVID-19 pandemic. The aim of this evaluation was to describe the experience of a UK based hospital specialist palliative care team, who were using video communication technology to support care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Methods: An online survey was distributed to the specialist palliative care team at a University teaching hospital in the North West of the UK. We asked participants to provide their views on the scope of use, barriers and future opportunities to use technology for communication in hospital palliative care.

Results: The survey was completed by 14 healthcare professionals. Participants indicated that the most common reasons for using the technology was to receive team updates (n= 14, 100%), participate in multidisciplinary team meetings (n=14, 100%), for education (n=12, 86%) and to facilitate cross-site working (n=9, 64%). We identified barriers to using the technology, which were summarised as: (1) user-based difficulties; (2) inadequate technological infrastructure; (3) data security, privacy and ethical concerns; and (4) concerns regarding staff wellbeing. Participants stated that technology can potentially improve care by improving communication with hospital and community teams and increasing access to education. We have used these findings to develop recommendations to help palliative care teams to implement this technology better in clinical practice.

Conclusion: Video communication technology has the potential to improve specialist palliative care delivery; however, it is essential that healthcare organisations address the existing barriers to using this technology, to ensure that these systems work meaningfully to improve palliative care for those who are most vulnerable beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.