Palliative Care- An Interdisciplinary Patient-Centered Team Model to Support Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Heidi Mandel (PhD, DPM, MS, LMSW, Anti-Defamation League)

Palliative care, a multidisciplinary, team based medical care for those living with serious illness, focuses on providing relief from symptoms and addresses quality of life (QOL), based upon the needs and values of the patient and caregivers. It is appropriate at any age, at any stage of serious illness, and is given along with continued curative treatment. Multidisciplinary professionals bring expertise to decision-making and educate each other about resources to achieve the best QOL. This collaboration optimizes the strengths within the team for creativity, productivity, and purpose in the service of their patients and caregivers. As a result of the disastrous toll of Covid-19, there needs to be a new conversation about  the gaps in our health care system in marginalized communities. Covid has amplified inequity in access to, and utilization of palliative care services. We need to collaborate and understand differences in culture, ethnicity, spirituality and other psychosocial issues. The palliative care team can support diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) by its practice of multidisciplinary decision -making to formulate individualized treatment that supports the goal of QOL.