Serious Illness and Covid-19

Course Request

Learning Objectives

  • Apply best approaches to beginning conversations with patients on serious illness care options
  • Employ patient and family-centered communication techniques focused on understanding patient priorities, values, and preferences
  • Integrate considerations related to addressing emotional needs of patients including anxiety, concern, frustration, or helplessness
  • Apply scenario-based training focusing on supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion for all patients that may benefit from serious illness care

Course Description

Communicating with patients about serious illness is difficult under the best of circumstances. The COVID-19 pandemic presents challenges that make these conversations even more difficult, but perhaps more important than ever, particularly for patients who are at highest risk of developing severe complications if they do become sick.

This course was created to engage patients in conversations that help them to understand the potential impact of COVID-19 on their health, to share their worries, values, and priorities, and to make informed decisions about future care. Clinicians play a critical role in helping patients understand the potential impact of COVID-19 on their health. They can also help ensure that people in their patient’s support system understand their values, priorities, and goals, and are prepared to make informed decisions should the patient be unable to make them independently.

Did you know…

  • COVID-19 is caused by a coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2.
  • Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness.
  • 1.4% of people infected with SARS-CoV-2 have a fatal outcome, while 98.6% recover
  • So far there has been 1 death every 1,166 people under 65 years old (compared to 1 death every 358 people in the general population). And 89% of the times, the person who died had one or more underlying medical conditions.


Course at a Glance

Target Audience: Clinicians, Social Workers, Clergy

Time to Complete: 25 Minutes

Contributor: Ariadne Labs


Ariadne Labs

Author Information

Course development guided by the expertise of:
Dr. Erik Fromme, MD, MCR, FAAHPM – Senior Scientist, Faculty Lead – Ariadne Labs