Palliative Care for People who use Substances During Communicable Disease Epidemics and Pandemics: A Scoping Review

  • Funded by Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
  • Total publications:0 publications

Grant number: 171746

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Key facts

  • Disease

  • Start & end year

  • Known Financial Commitments (USD)

  • Funder

    Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
  • Principle Investigator

  • Research Location

    Canada, Americas
  • Lead Research Institution

    Princess Margaret Cancer Centre (Toronto)
  • Research Category

    Secondary impacts of disease, response & control measures

  • Research Subcategory

    Indirect health impacts

  • Special Interest Tags


  • Study Subject


  • Clinical Trial Details


  • Broad Policy Alignment


  • Age Group


  • Vulnerable Population

    Drug usersIndividuals with multimorbidity

  • Occupations of Interest



The COVID-19 pandemic and its response efforts magnify the health care challenges encountered by people who use substances. People who use substances are at high risk of life-limiting illnesses such as end-stage organ failure and cancer. Unfortunately, people who use substances encounter barriers to receiving palliative care. People who use substances often have few social supports and lack financial resources. Moreover, delivery of community-based health services may be restricted due to institution and provider concerns that the settings are risky or unsafe. Zero-tolerance policies toward non-medical use of substances also restrict access to palliative care units and hospices. Given these pre-existing inequities to palliative care access and increased demand for palliative care during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to understand the impact of COVID-19 on people with life-limiting illnesses who use substances. To address this critical issue, we propose a scoping review that will identify knowledge strengths and gaps about palliative care for people with life-limiting illnesses who use substances during communicable disease epidemics and pandemics. Our project will critically assess the state of knowledge and provide decision support for healthcare providers and policy makers during COVID-19 and future communicable disease epidemics and pandemics. Through our dedicated knowledge translation strategy, we will ensure timely dissemination of our findings to patients, caregivers, healthcare providers, and decision makers. Our project is aligned with a key goal in the Government of Canada's five-year action plan for palliative care (2019 - 2024), which seeks to to improve access to palliative care for underserved populations who experience difficulties in obtaining health care and to improve the quality of care when it is received.