While the additional value from adding the option of virtual visits is not in question, numerous issues are raised around how to decide between face-to-face and virtual visits in individual cases and how best to set up such provision within an organisation. With only limited palliative care-specific literature and no time to set up and evaluate pilots, we had to get on and set up a prototype ‘virtual visits’ model, retro-fitting guidance and a supporting ethical framework. We looked at the issues spanning clinical, ethical and logistics domains; identifying areas of benefit as well as drawbacks, some specific to the rushed implementation because of COVID-19’s infective risks and the ‘rules’ of lockdown, but many are generic areas to help guide longer term service design. Unsurprisingly, it appears clear that a ‘one-size-fits-all’ mentality is a poor fit for the individualised needs of the heterogeneous palliative care population. Virtual visits have great potential even if they are not a panacea.
- clinical decisions
- education and training
- home care
- hospice care
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Contributors The authors of this article have each reviewed the other authors work and co-contributed as editors internally to the piece. JPH and CG wrote the majority of the article with JP writing the conclusion and providing additional references.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.