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New guidance for psychologists working in palliative care

04 June 2020

The British Psychological Society has published new guidance for psychologists working in palliative care who are dealing with the end-of-life care pathway for patients during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Under normal circumstances, psychologists working in this area will work directly with patients and their loved ones to plan this, but there are elements of Covid-19 that mean this may not be possible.

These include the speed at which some patients go from ‘being well’ to death, and the social distancing measures meaning that communication between a psychologist, patient and their loved ones will be different.

The guidance suggests that, while decisions will need to be made at pace, care should still be taken to involve the patient, their loved ones and others as much as possible in early discussions about their preferences.

It stresses the importance of communication and how this can be supported by utilising modern technology when necessary.

The guidance concludes that despite these uncertain times the role of psychology is to support everyone through a different end-of-life care pathway and to help people process the emotions involved.

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