Symptom management in people dying with COVID-19:multinational observational study (CovPall)

Oluyase, Adejoke and Bajwah, Sabrina and Sleeman, Katherine and Walshe, Catherine and Preston, Nancy and Hocaoglu, Mevhibe and Bradshaw, Andy and Chambers, Rachel and Murtagh, Fliss and Dunleavy, Lesley and Maddocks, Matthew and Fraser, Lorna and Irene, Higginson (2022) Symptom management in people dying with COVID-19:multinational observational study (CovPall). BMJ Supportive and Palliative Care, 12 (4). pp. 439-447. ISSN 2045-435X

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ObjectivesTo describe multinational prescribing practices by palliative care services for symptom management in patients dying with COVID-19 and the perceived effectiveness of medicines.MethodsWe surveyed specialist palliative care services, contacted via relevant organisations between April and July 2020. Descriptive statistics for categorical variables were expressed as counts and percentages. Content analysis explored free text responses about symptom management in COVID-19. Medicines were classified using British National Formulary categories. Perceptions on effectiveness of medicines were grouped into five categories; effective, some, limited or unclear effectiveness, no effect.Results458 services responded; 277 UK, 85 rest of Europe, 95 rest of the world, 1 missing country. 358 services had managed patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19. 289 services had protocols for symptom management in COVID-19. Services tended to prescribe medicines for symptom control comparable to medicines used in people without COVID-19; mainly opioids and benzodiazepines for breathlessness, benzodiazepines and antipsychotics for agitation, opioids and cough linctus for cough, paracetamol and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for fever, and opioids and paracetamol for pain. Medicines were considered to be mostly effective but varied by patient’s condition, route of administration and dose.ConclusionsServices were largely consistent in prescribing for symptom management in people dying with COVID-19. Medicines used prior to COVID-19 were mostly considered effective in controlling common symptoms.

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Journal Article
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BMJ Supportive and Palliative Care
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09 Aug 2022 12:55
Last Modified:
26 Sep 2023 00:25