Includes guidance for communicating with patients and families during the pandemic, and tools to work through resilience, moral distress, and grief.

Brain and Heart Puzzle Symbolizing the Need for Emotional PPE

With the rise in COVID-19 cases throughout the United States, we want to share our gratitude. Thank you for working tirelessly to improve the outcomes for your patients, whether they have COVID-19 or another serious illness. Thank you for taking care of the families who yearn to see their loved ones, or need guidance to care for them at home. Thank you for developing innovative solutions and leading efforts at your organizations; and for working around the clock, taking on additional consults when you may not have the resources.

No matter how you are feeling right now — overwhelmed, burnt-out, at a loss for words — we want to remind you of CAPC's free resources that are available, at any time of day. Below, we have gathered resources for common themes we are seeing, specifically communication with patients and families, and emotional PPE.


Communication skills are critical under normal circumstances. With the added complexity of the COVID-19 pandemic, clinicians on the frontlines are faced with comforting their patients, as well as their family members who can’t be by their side. If you have found it difficult to know what to say, and/or worry about the limitations of conducting sensitive conversations via telehealth, these communication resources may help.

1. COVID-19 Goals of Care: Conversation Script

This conversation map, which was developed by VitalTalk, includes specific phrases that clinicians can use when talking to patients living COVID-19 about goals of care. An editable version of this script is also available for download.

2. Eliciting Patient Priorities via Telehealth

This conversation guide includes troubleshooting tips for eliciting patient priorities via a telehealth visit, using the Patient Priorities Care (PPC) model.

For additional COVID-19 Communication resources, click here.

Emotional PPE

The COVID-19 pandemic has stretched on for a long period of time, and there is unfortunately no indication on when it will end. Not only has this had a physical toll on teams and organizations, but a significant emotional impact on health care professionals. The below resources can help maintain and/or rebuild resilience among individuals and teams during the pandemic.

3. Staying Resilient as the Pandemic Continues

Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic is a marathon, not a sprint. If your resiliency has been impacted, like many of your colleagues throughout the country, this on-demand webinar will provide helpful tools to help rebuild it.

4. A Practical Road Map to Increasing Personal, Professional, and Team Resilience

This step-by-step self-care guide offers strategies for increasing resilience around common, but distressing reactions that may be heightened during a crisis. The solutions offered will help integrate self-care practices into your daily routine — to ultimately navigate stress.

5. Team Health and Resiliency During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Outside of a pandemic, high consult volumes and limited resources can be an ongoing strain on the overall health and morale of palliative care teams. With COVID-19, there has been an even greater increase in patient volume, which has layered on additional stress; these proactive steps can help.

Emotional Distress

COVID-19 is affecting the emotional health of health care professionals across all disciplines, specialties, and settings. As the pandemic continues, more and more clinicians are moving from a state of wellbeing to one of distress and grief. The below resources can help.

6. “We Are in a War”: Mitigating Burnout in COVID-19

This blog post examines sources of COVID-related burnout, and offers strategies for reducing stress during this uncertain time.

7. "Decompress" Podcast

Listen to podcast episodes, hosted by Tony Back, MD, co-founder of VitalTalk, about what health care professionals can do to sustain themselves during COVID-19.

8. Team and Individual Stress Mitigation Strategies

Review this short list of strategies that palliative care teams and clinicians can implement, in order to reduce the long-term impact of stress from COVID-19.

9. Understanding Distress in the COVID-19 Pandemic

This resource explores common sources of distress for palliative care teams and individual clinicians (e.g. redeployment, telehealth goals of care conversations), and offers ideas for how to proactively respond.

10. A Framework for Coping with Moral Challenges In the COVID-19 Era

As health care professionals face unprecedented challenges, many report feelings of powerlessness or lack of control as they navigate issues that may conflict with their professional values. This 3-question framework helps to examine and reduce this moral distress.

Additional COVID-19 Resources

For more emotional PPE resources, and endless tools and technical assistance across many other topics, visit CAPC's Response Resources Hub. Access is free for all health care professionals during the pandemic.

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