Coronavirus: Virtual Connection through Telehealth

During the COVID-19 pandemic, telemedicine may be the safest – and sometimes the only – option for people to speak with their palliative care teams or other health care professionals. To slow the spread of the virus, telemedicine makes it possible for you to remain inside your home when you need to speak with your doctor. 

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the largest health care payer in the country, has temporarily waived rules to allow more flexibility during this public health emergency. Patients and families can also learn more by going to the telehealth section of the Health and Human services website.

Below, we have put together quick and easy tips that will help you get ready for your visit. 

Get prepared for the conversation. Before your visit, make a list of what you want to address so that you don’t forget anything important. Keep track of new or unresolved symptoms – when they began, if they have changed. Also make note of any medicine refills you may need.

Make sure you have a place in your home where you can sit comfortably, have quiet, and have privacy during the call.

Get the technology figured out ahead of time. Make sure your device (phone, tablet, or computer) and internet are ready to go. Test everything before the call so that you don’t have to do anything during the call.  

Be ready. Make sure you are available at the time you arranged. List out your questions and concerns before the call.

Confirm that you will get a call back if the sound or video is lost during the visit. 

It is ok to interrupt your health care professional if you need to pause for any reason during the visit. 

Review any new prescriptions or refills and discuss how you will get your prescriptions. 

Ask any final questions and if needed, schedule your next visit. Depending on the situation, it may be via telehealth or in person.

Email your health care professional after the visit if you have any additional questions. If they made recommendations, report back and tell them how it went.

Emergencies are emergencies. If your symptoms are serious, do not schedule a telemedicine call. Call 911 to get a trained professional who can evaluate you in-person.

Learn more about COVID-19, serious illness, and palliative care here

Content source: Center to Advance Palliative Care, accessed April 2020.


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