NIH RESEARCH FUNDING FOR PALLIATIVE CARE AND COVID-19
by Jonathan Wun
Category: Social Sciences
Abstract – The COVID-19 pandemic has created a multitude of hardships, especially concerning the treatment of patients within overwhelmed hospitals. It is in this environment that palliative care has played an important role: providing care for isolated patients and exhausted physicians, communicating with patients’ families, and making serious decisions. This report serves to examine the impact of COVID-19 on federally funded COVID-19 related palliative care research and grants. The term “COVID-19” was inputted into the NIH RePORTER along with the terms: “palliative care,” “end-of-life-care,” “hospice,” and “end of life” generating 81 unique grants. After hand reviewing these grants, 17 were identified to be pertinent to COVID-19 and palliative care. These grants investigated research topics such as systems of care, physical symptom management, and decision making/communication, which align with key elements essential to the delivery of highquality bedside palliative care during a pandemic. The results of this study are similar to the 2011– 2015 analysis of palliative medicine NIH funding. The same major funding institutes (NCI, NINR, NIA) were identified and the percentage of COVID-19 palliative care funding relative to the total number of COVID-19 grants remains at less than 1%. Despite the urgency for palliative care throughout hospital systems, palliative care grants continue to constitute an insignificant percentage of the total COVID-19 awards approved by the NIH. Additional initiative is called for to support future palliative care research.