Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Telehealth: rapid adoption in community palliative care due to COVID-19: patient and professional evaluation
  1. Peter Eastman1,2,
  2. Anna Dowd1,
  3. Jacqui White1,
  4. Jill Carter1 and
  5. Matthew Ely1
  1. 1Department of Palliative Care, Barwon Health, Geelong, Victoria, Australia
  2. 2School of Medicine, Deakin University Faculty of Health, Geelong, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Peter Eastman, Department of Palliative Care, Barwon Health, Geelong, VIC 3218, Australia; eastman{at}


Background/objective The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the use of telehealth to the fore, as many people have been unable to interact directly with healthcare professionals (HCP). For community palliative care (CPC) services, this has meant a sudden change from a predominantly face-to-face model of care to one that incorporates telehealth. Understanding patient and HCP experiences with telehealth and how telehealth compares to ‘usual’ care will be crucial in planning future CPC services.

Methodology All patients of the Barwon Health CPC service between 1 April and 31 May 2020 were invited to complete a questionnaire evaluating their interactions with the palliative care service and specifically their involvement with telehealth consultations. Palliative care HCP who provided clinical services during the same time period were also surveyed.

Results/conclusion Seventy-four patients (response rate 36%) and 22 HCP returned surveys. Both groups felt comfortable using telehealth, however, also encountered a range of issues when undertaking telehealth consultations. Despite reporting issues, the preference of both groups was for a CPC service model, which combined face-to-face and telehealth consultations. This study is one of the first to directly ask this question and as such provides useful guidance for health services when planning future CPC service models.

  • COVID-19
  • home care
  • service evaluation

This article is made freely available for use in accordance with BMJ’s website terms and conditions for the duration of the covid-19 pandemic or until otherwise determined by BMJ. You may use, download and print the article for any lawful, non-commercial purpose (including text and data mining) provided that all copyright notices and trade marks are retained.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Contributors All authors made substantial contributions to study conception and design, and protocol development. PE and AD were involved in data collection and analysis. All authors were involved in drafting and/or revising the manuscript. All authors approved the final submitted manuscript.

  • Funding The project was supported by a COVID-19 Research Grant from the Western Alliance Academic Health Science Centre in Geelong, Victoria, Australia.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.