Potential sources of moral distress during COVID-19: Perspectives of hospice interdisciplinary teams

Tessa Jones, Shih Yin Lin, Aditi Durga, Elizabeth A. Luth, Rebecca K.F. Lassell, Abraham A. Brody

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to examine the impact of COVID-19 on hospice Interdisciplinary team (IDT) members' self-reported stress and identify possible sources of moral distress. METHODS: A cross-sectional survey was conducted using Qualtrics to understand the impact of COVID-19 on quality improvement initiative implementation and hospice IDT members' general and dementia-specific care provision. Directed qualitative content analysis was used to analyze hospice IDT members' responses from five open-ended survey questions that were indicative of stress and possible moral distress. RESULTS: The final sample consisted of 101 unique respondents and 175 comments analyzed. Three categories related to sources of moral distress based on hospice IDT member survey responses were identified: (1) impact of telehealth, personal protective equipment (PPE), and visit restrictions on relationships; (2) lack of COVID-19-specific skills; and (3) organizational climate. Sources of moral distress were categorized in 40% of all responses analyzed. SIGNIFICANCE OF RESULTS: This study is one of the first to document and confirm evidence of potential stress and moral distress amongst hospice IDT members during COVID-19. It is imperative given the possible negative impact on patient care and clinician well-being, that future research and interventions incorporate mechanisms to support clinicians' emotional and ethical attunement and support organizations to actively engage in practices that address clinician moral distress resulting from restrictive environments, such as the one necessitated by COVID-19.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)644-650
Number of pages7
JournalPalliative and Supportive Care
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2023


  • COVID-19
  • Hospice
  • Interdisciplinary
  • Moral distress
  • Qualitative research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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