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Type: Journal article
Title: The pervasive relevance of COVID-19 within routine paediatric palliative care consultations during the pandemic: a conversation analytic study
Author: Ekberg, K.
Weinglass, L.
Ekberg, S.
Danby, S.
Herbert, A.
Citation: Palliative Medicine, 2020; 34(9):1202-1219
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Issue Date: 2020
ISSN: 0269-2163
Statement of
Katie Ekberg, Lara Weinglass, Stuart Ekberg, Susan Danby and Anthony Herbert
Abstract: Background: The importance of caring for children with complex and serious conditions means that paediatric palliative care must continue during pandemics. The recent pandemic of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) provides a natural experiment to study health communication during pandemic times. However, it is unknown how communication within consultations might change during pandemics. Aim: This study, a sub-study of a larger project, aimed to examine real-world instances of communication in paediatric palliative care consultations prior to and during the COVID-19 pandemic to understand how clinicians and families talk about the pandemic. Design: Paediatric palliative care consultations prior to, during, and immediately following the initial peak of COVID-19 cases in Australia were video recorded and analysed using Conversation Analysis methods. Setting/Participants: Twenty-five paediatric palliative care consultations (including face-to-face outpatient, telehealth outpatient and inpatient consultations) were video recorded within a public children's hospital in Australia. Participants included 14 health professionals, 15 child patients, 23 adult family members and 5 child siblings. Results: There was a pervasive relevance of both serious and non-serious talk about COVID-19 within the consultations recorded during the pandemic. Topics typical of a standard paediatric palliative care consultation often led to discussion of the pandemic. Clinicians (55%) and parents (45%) initiated talk about the pandemic. Conclusions: Clinicians should not be surprised by the pervasiveness of COVID-19 or other pandemic talk within standard paediatric palliative care consultations. This awareness will enable clinicians to flexibly address family needs and concerns about pandemic-related matters that may impact health and wellbeing.
Keywords: Palliative care; COVID-19; pandemics; communication; child
Rights: © The Author(s) 2020 Article reuse guidelines: DOI: 10.1177/0269216320950089 Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
DOI: 10.1177/0269216320950089
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