COVID-19: End of life care in older people

Fact sheet
Our fact sheets help you find resources beyond the British Geriatrics Society website
British Geriatrics Society
Dr Eileen Burns MBE
Dr Helen Milbourn
Dr Premila Fade
Prof Caroline Nicholson
Date Published:
07 April 2020
Last updated: 
08 June 2020

This page brings together resources and information for any clinician or carer who finds themselves faced with providing care at the end of life during the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 has moved death and dying to the centre stage. While end of life care has always been an integral part of care for older people, the acute and rapid nature of COVID-19 changes the pace and focus of that care. Clinicians and carers will need to give both the best physical care possible and also provide the human contact and comfort to older people who are dying - ideally provided by those they love.
Person-centred care has never been more necessary, including sensitive advance care planning conversations and best interest decisions -communicated clearly with compassion, symptom control, support of family and friends from a distance, and crucially care of yourselves and colleagues.
We care for older people across sectors and support for, and solidarity with, our fellow workers in social care is crucial. Just as we face new challenges in our own clinical settings, our colleagues in the community, social care and charitable sectors will be facing their own challenges.
Careful and compassionate communication between sectors has become more important than ever. Below is a set of resources to assist you. It is not exhaustive and needs to be adapted to your situation.
The current COVID-19 crisis is likely to be the defining moment of all of our careers. We will face huge professional as well as personal challenges during this time and need to support each other.

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