Symptom control and survival for people severely ill with COVID : a multicentre cohort study (CovPall-Symptom)

Higginson, Irene and Hocaoglu, Mevhibe and Fraser, Lorna and Maddocks, Matthew and Sleeman, Katherine and Oluyase, Adejoke and Chambers, Rachel and Preston, Nancy and Dunleavy, Lesley and Bradshaw, Andy and Bajwah, Sabrina and Murtagh, Fliss and Walshe, Catherine (2022) Symptom control and survival for people severely ill with COVID : a multicentre cohort study (CovPall-Symptom). Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 64 (4). pp. 377-390. ISSN 0885-3924

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Context: Evidence of symptom control outcomes in severe COVID is scant. Objectives: To determine changes in symptoms among people severely ill or dying with COVID supported by palliative care, and associations with treatments and survival. Methods: Multicentre cohort study of people with COVID across England and Wales supported by palliative care services, during the pandemic in 2020 and 2021. We analysed clinical, demographic and survival data, symptom severity at baseline (referral to palliative care, first COVID assessment) and at three follow-up assessments using the Integrated Palliative care Outcome Scale – COVID version. Results: We included 572 patients from 25 services, mostly hospital support teams; 496 (87%) were newly referred to palliative care with COVID, 75 (13%) were already supported by palliative care when they contracted COVID. At baseline, patients had a mean of 2.4 co-morbidities, mean age 77 years, a mean of five symptoms, and were often bedfast or semiconscious. The most prevalent symptoms were: breathlessness, weakness/lack of energy, drowsiness, anxiety, agitation, confusion/delirium, and pain. Median time in palliative care was 46 hours; 77% of patients died. During palliative care, breathlessness, agitation, anxiety, delirium, cough, fever, pain, sore/dry mouth and nausea improved; drowsiness became worse. Common treatments were low dose morphine and midazolam. Having moderate to severe breathlessness, agitation and multimorbidity were associated with shorter survival. Conclusion: Symptoms of COVID quickly improved during palliative care. Breathlessness, agitation and multimorbidity could be used as triggers for timelier referral, and symptom guidance for wider specialities should build on treatments identified in this study.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Journal of Pain and Symptom Management
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? symptom treatmentsymptom managementcovidpalliative careintegrated palliative outcome scalespecialist palliative careacute hospital wardhospiceclinical neurologyanesthesiology and pain medicinenursing(all) ??
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Deposited On:
15 Jul 2022 14:50
Last Modified:
10 Jun 2024 08:30