Pain, Palliative Care

Palliative care’s response to the Ebola virus?


From the CDC website: As of October 10, 2014

  • Total Cases: 8399
  • Laboratory-Confirmed Cases: 4655
  • Total Deaths: 4033
*Case counts updated in conjunction with the World Health Organization updates and are based on information reported by the Ministries of Health.


Symptoms (Again the CDC website:)

  • Fever (greater than 38.6°C or 101.5°F)
  • Severe headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal (stomach) pain
  • Unexplained hemorrhage (bleeding or bruising)


Recovery from Ebola depends on good supportive clinical care and the patient’s immune response (CDC)

We hear of the lack of hospital beds in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. We know our colleagues at Shepherd’s Hospice have become part of the response. Even early in the process, a volunteer moved his focus from the hospice to caring for those with Ebola. The Worldwide Hospice and Palliative Care Alliance has initiated a fundraising campaign to help Shepherd’s Hospice increase its response to the crisis!

But what level of  “good supportive clinical care” is available in these countries? We know that there is little access to opioids for pain relief in these three countries, let alone the necessary clinical staff and the tools to support liver and renal failure.  This is a disease that has at least a 50% mortality……

What is and should be the global palliative care community’s response in the face of this crisis? What priority should the comfort of those infected be given when compared with controlling the spread of this infection?

Your comments welcome as is your participation in the #hpmglobal tweet chat on Monday Oct 13 12 noon GMT (11p SYD; 1p LON; 8a NYC)

About Pain policy & palliative care

Improving global pain relief by achieving balanced access to opioids worldwide

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