Experience of palliative care services at tertiary comprehensive cancer center during COVID-19 lockdown phase: An analytical original study
Background: Recent pandemic Coronavirus disease 2019 has brought the whole world to a standstill. In India too, phases of the lockdown of the country were declared. This hampered the availability of essential health-care services to needy patients. With full emphasis on the pandemic, patients suffering from other diseases and palliative oncology patients requiring essential palliative care services were affected due to the shutting down of regular health-care services. Aim: In this study, we emphasize that in the middle of a pandemic, we need to continue serving the needs of palliative care patients, and simultaneously, necessary steps should be taken for the prevention of the spread of virus by following guidelines, training, support, and monitoring. Materials and Methods: In this study, we analyzed electronic medical record of 1161 patients who received palliative care from our institute in the first two lockdown periods, regarding their demographics, extent of travel, type of malignancy, and opioid utilization. Results: Of 1161 patients, male outnumbered female and the patient suffering from head-and-neck malignancy were in the maximum number (48.7%). Our essential opioids utilization rate was 34.2%, and patients who traveled from different states were 21.6%. Conclusion: During this pandemic, we cannot overlook the need for essential palliative care services. We can continue regular services with proper precautions as advised and by training the staff. Collaboration with different palliative centers across the country should be done to minimize patient movement. © 2020 Wolters Kluwer Medknow Publications. All rights reserved.