Dignified communication in a time of crisis.
COVID-19 and the role of palliative care in Ethiopia
Keywords:palliative care, End of life care, bad news communication
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, it is recklessly, indiscriminatingly, highlighting the need for an often neglected yet vital component of any health system: palliative care.As we write this, recorded global infections have passed 23 million with 800,000 recorded deaths (1) .End of life preferences are both a highly personal and global, human phenomenon. To be with family, to be at peace, at home; in short ‘a good death’.2 Yet more and more of us are dying apart from families, in hospitals. This is especially true now, in the midst of the covid-19 pandemic.Despite traditional community pactices of 'merdo', bad news communication is commonly shunned duty by Ethiopian health providers and still much abhorred by the community. Culturally, the collective will of community prevails over the personal autonomy of patients. Individual autonomy is further undermined by critical illness at end of life.The cloak of palliation, a crucial yet often non-existent component of fragile health care systems and humanitarian response efforts, is a critical adjunct which both reduces suffering and spares resources
2. Centers for Disease Control. Advanced Care planning; ensuring your wishes are known honored if you are unable to speak for yourself. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/aging/pdf/advanced-care-planning-critical-issue-brief.pdf (Accessed on Aug 26)