Patients'/Caregivers' perspectives on telemedicine service for advanced cancer patients during the COVID-19 pandemic: An exploratory survey

Atreya S.,
Kumar G.,
Samal J.,
Bhattacharya M.,
Banerjee S.,
Mallick P.,
Chakraborty D.,
Gupta S.,
Sarkar S.
Document Type
Source Title
Indian Journal of Palliative Care
Wolters Kluwer Medknow Publications


Introduction: Novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID 19) has usurped human peace and mobility. The confinement of the population and the rising epidemic has disrupted the routine care for non-COVID-19 patients. Telehealth is a growing field, and its application in palliative care is seen as a solution to serve the population in this difficult crisis. Methodology: A exploratory survey was designed to assess the changes in the hospital-based practice of palliative care in the COVID-19 pandemic and patient/caregiver's perception about the provision of telehealth services to palliative care patients of a tertiary care cancer hospital of eastern India. Results: There was a dramatic reduction in the outpatient clinic footfalls by 51% with teleconsultation. Although there was no change in the number of emergency visits, the inpatient admissions reduced by 44%. Nearly 82% of patient/caregivers gave a positive feedback about telemedicine care provided by the department and mentioned that the service provided them with support and connectedness. Almost 64% of the patients and caregivers reported that the service helped allay the fear and reassured them that there was a someone to support them. As high as 76% of the participants felt that they would prefer teleconsultation in future and were ready to pay for teleconsultations if charges were to be applied in the future. Conclusion: Telemedicine is an important tool and an essential service to care for palliative care patients in the community especially when the patient and health-care professionals are separated by a pandemic or natural disaster. © 2020 Wolters Kluwer Medknow Publications. All rights reserved.

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