COVID-19 and communicating with patients and whānau

The aim of this web content is to support you with a toolkit to help you navigate care planning and decision-making in an empathetic and person-centric way in the current changing environment. 

The resources on these pages are designed to help you have conversations about what matters most to your patients and their whānau. They are easily accessed, clear and consistent, and are based on sound principles, evidence and experience.

Please note that, because the situation with COVID-19 is rapidly evolving and we wanted to make the resources available as quickly as possible, we have not been able to complete our usual robust quality improvement approach in adapting and creating the resources published here. The resources we have included are focused on conversations and planning in hospital and aged residential care settings.

We welcome your feedback so we can continuously improve the resources and web pages. Real-time feedback from the front line is particularly useful.

The resources are arranged by the key activity they support – from preparing to talk to your patients/residents and their whānau, talking to them, documenting what you learn from the conversation and any decisions to using this information to inform care.

Use the resources when having conversations with:

Regardless of setting, here are some things to keep in mind.

  1. Keep the person and their whānau in sharp focus. Be person-centric not pandemic-focused.
  2. Document what you already know about the patient's/resident’s values, concerns, goals and preferences from advance care plans, medical records and previous conversations.
  3. Continue to include the patient/resident and their whānau as much as possible in all planning and decision-making. We acknowledge this may not be easy.
  4. Prepare for these conversations.
  5. Acknowledge how difficult the situation is and how we wish it were different.
  6. Talk to patients/residents and their whānau about what they hope for in the face of this situation.
  7. Be honest and kind.
  8. Use what people hope for to support effective treatment decision-making.
  9. These are extraordinary times and supporting these conversations can take a toll. Take care of yourself and seek collegial support.

Last updated 15/05/2020