Reconnecting: Strategies for Supporting Isolated Older Adults during COVID-19 through Tele-palliative Care
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in unprecedented levels of social isolation which has negatively impacted older patients in particular on multiple levels. We present a case of an older patient with several complex psychosocial issues who was hospitalized and died from COVID-19. The social isolation required during the pandemic compounded patient and family stressors and diminished the patient’s access to clinicians and to his usual support network and coping strategies. We describe how technology and tele-palliative care were utilized to reconnect the patient with clinicians and family and to provide clinical care that enhanced coping skills and support. Using telemedicine to restructure the approach to care was crucial in improving multiple domains of care and can be considered a resource for caring for older adults, especially during the challenging times brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.