US Clinicians’ Experiences and Perspectives on Resource Limitation and Patient Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic

January 20, 2021 by Christen Aldrich

Filed under COVID-19 for Employers, COVID-19 for the Workforce

Last modified January 21, 2021

According to this publication from JAMA Network, little is known about how US clinicians have responded to resource limitation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the first case of COVID was diagnosed in mid-January of last year, health care delivery in the United States has been completely transformed. Early reports from frontline clinicians in global epicenters describing extreme shortages and bedside rationing of ventilators and ICU beds prompted national conversations about how to respond to similar challenges in the United States.

This qualitative study includes interviews with 61 clinicians across the United States. While institutions planned for a direct and systematic approach to resource allocation in crisis settings, this approach did not address many challenges encountered by frontline clinicians, leaving them to struggle with what constituted acceptable standards of care and to make difficult allocation decisions. Clinicians described multiple barriers to care delivery during the pandemic: contact limitation, rapid pace of change and uncertainty, and discussions with families about disrupted care.

The findings of this study highlight the complexity of providing high-quality care for patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. The researchers noted that expanding the scope of institutional planning to address resource limitation challenges that can arise long before declarations of crisis capacity may help to support frontline clinicians, promote equity, and optimize care as the pandemic evolves.

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