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JAMA Forum
April 22, 2021

Integration of Palliative Care Into All Serious Illness Care as A Human Right

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York
  • 2City of Hope National Medical Center, Duarte, California
  • 3Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement, George Washington University School of Nursing, Washington, DC
JAMA Health Forum. 2021;2(4):e211099. doi:10.1001/jamahealthforum.2021.1099

Deaths from COVID-19 are approaching 600 000 in the US and 3 million worldwide. As intensive care units have reached or exceeded capacity in many hospitals, concerns have grown about the ethical dimensions of rationed care. But many of these focused on who gets a ventilator, rather than how to provide palliative care to those who are seriously ill, including those treated with ventilators and those who may not want or cannot get a ventilator.

Early on in the pandemic, clinical leaders at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, New York, realized that although they had a palliative care team, they did not have enough clinicians prepared to lead the crucial conversations with patients and families about end-of-life decision-making and symptom management.1 There is always a consistent need for the deep expertise of palliative care teams, but COVID-19 has highlighted that every clinician needs knowledge and skills in the fundamentals of palliative care.

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