Palliative care in South Africa during the Covid19 pandemic is crucial

A palliative care approach is relevant to all patients with a Covid19 infection, no mater their final outcome. Along with managing the intricacies of ventilators and other treatments clinicians will be required to:

  • manage distressing symptoms,
  • have complex and difficult conversations,
  • support decision making based a patient’s medical condition, their goals and values and the realities of the medical system,
  • manage psychosocial and existential distress
  • AND maintain personal resilience and well-being

The pandemic has highlighted the glaring gap in training and palliative care services in South Africa.

PALPRAC wants to support colleagues in delivering good palliative care to their patient, whether at home, long term care facilities or in hospital.

Palliative care virtual support to healthcare professionals

PALPRAC PalliCOVID Conversation hour

Inspired by our passion for care, PALPRAC hosts a weekly ZOOM PalliCOVID Conversation Hour on Thursdays 4 pm-5pm. PALPRAC Members are extending this invitation to the broader community of Health Care Professionals, including our doctors, nurses, pharmacists, social workers, psychologists, ambulance teams and PALPRAC friends.

Encouraging conversations about clinical cases, concerns and experiences in a safe environment where participants can listen, learn and participate with our panel of experts and Palliative Care Specialists. We also welcome new topics and disciplines to be proposed for discussions and potential conversations.

The conversations are themed, but there will also be opportunity to come with other questions or cases during the hour. Participants are encouraged to post questions upon registration.

PALPRAC invites Health Care Professionals to register online

If you have missed any of these sessions, some have been made available online. 

Guidelines for health care professionals


Palliative care patients need ongoing care during the COVID crises. Now more than ever, discussions around their goals and wishes will be important. Many might want to stay at home even if they become Covid-19 positive. This guideline will assist in the management of these patients in their homes.



Healthcare practitioners from various disciplines are likely to be involved in the care of seriously ill patients with Covid-19. Along with the acute management of these patients, alleviating distressing symptoms and skilful communication will help ensure compassionate and dignified care. The following guide will be a useful reference in offering palliative care to these patients within the South African context.

Updated 23 April: PALPRAC_Providing-Palliative-Care-in-South-Africa-during-COVID-19

Follow this link to access training videos on the guidelines.

A quick reference guide to Covid19 symptom management, including various alternative medications and routes of administration.

PALPRAC Quick reference guide: COVID19 in hospital symptom management



With thanks to Dr Pelisa Ford for the isiXhosa translation, and Mrs Alta Nel for translating the documents into Afrikaans.

Caring for a dying loved one at home can be daunting. This hand out will assist families and carers in understanding what the elements of care are. that needs to be paid attention to in this time.

Oral morphine is an important component in the management of dyspnoea and pain due to Covid-19. Use this flyer to give clear instructions to families on the use of oral morphine at home.

Breathlessness is a common symptom of Covid. This handout gives useful tips to patients and families in managing this.

During the COVID crises families will unlikely be able to visit their loved ones. Use this handout for families to tell health care care workers in hospitals or care facilities a little more about their loved one and to ensure that the right family contact details are available.

Carers need to be able to stay safe while caring for COVID positive patients, for the sake of themselves, their patients and their own community. The PALPRAC Carer Guidelines June 2020 will assist them in doing so.