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Close contacts are in self-isolation.Further investigations have found that anyone who attended City Tattersalls Club Fitness Centre​ on Monday 24 August from 8am-2pm is a close contact and must get tested immediately and isolate for 14 days and remain isolated, even if the test result is negative.One of today’s cases attended Anytime Fitness gym in Marrickville on Monday 24 August from 7pm to 8pm. Anyone at the gym at this time is considered order viagra online a close contact and is required to immediately get tested for COVID-19 and self-isolate for 14 days until 8 September.People who have attended the following venues are considered casual contacts and advised to monitor for symptoms, and immediately isolate and get tested for COVID-19 should symptoms develop. The Matterhorn, Turramurra - Saturday 22 August 6pm-8pm (NSW Health has identified and contacted close contacts)Parish of Holy Name, Wahroonga - Sunday 23 August 9.30am-10.15amLiquorland, Marrickville, 269-271 Marrickville Rd - Sunday 23 August 5.15pm-5.30pm​Eat Fuh, Marrickville - Sunday 23 August 5.20pm-5.40pmMetro Petroleum - Hurlstone Park - Monday 24 August 10.20am-10.30am Following diagnosis of COVID-19 in a person who lives in Victoria, two NSW residents are in isolation for 14 days from the date of last contact with this case. Murrumbidgee LHD order viagra online contacted these two people and are continuing to monitor them while they remain in isolation.

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It is vital that high rates of testing continue in order to find the source of the cases still under investigation and to identify and stop further spread of the virus. Locations linked to known cases, advice on testing and isolation, and areas identified for increased testing can be found at NSW Government - Latest new and updates.Anyone identified as a close contact and directed to undertake 14 days self-isolation must stay in isolation for the full 14 days, order viagra online even if they test negative during this time. Early testing may not detect an infection, and release from self-isolation based on a negative test could allow an infectious person to infect others in the community. People who are infected will generally develop symptoms within 14 days of exposure order viagra online.

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By Serena Gordon HealthDay Reporter TUESDAY, how long does viagra last Sept. 8, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) may be the go-to treatment for sleep apnea, but many people struggle to use it every night. For those who cannot tolerate CPAP, new research finds that a combination of surgical techniques may bring relief.

The "multilevel" treatment includes removing the tonsils, repositioning the palate (roof of the mouth) how long does viagra last and using radiofrequency to slightly reduce the size of the tongue. In combination, these procedures open up the airway and reduce breathing obstruction, the researchers said. The study found that the multilevel surgery technique reduced the number of times people stopped breathing (apnea events) during sleep and improved daytime sleepiness.

People also how long does viagra last reported better quality of life after the treatment. "Obstructive sleep apnea is common and many people cannot use the main treatments, like CPAP masks. Surgery is a valid option when an expert surgeon is involved, and it can improve outcomes," said the study's lead author, Dr.

Stuart MacKay how long does viagra last. He's an honorary clinical professor of otolaryngology, head and neck surgery at University of Wollongong, in Australia. The researchers said that nearly one billion people worldwide suffer from sleep apnea.

The airway becomes blocked during sleep, and as a result people stop breathing for short periods of time, multiple times how long does viagra last throughout the night. People with sleep apnea have a higher risk of daytime sleepiness, motor vehicle crashes, and heart disease and stroke. CPAP does a good job at keeping your airway open as you sleep, but the treatment -- including a mask and a long tube -- can be hard to get used to.

The study authors said only about half of people with sleep how long does viagra last apnea try CPAP. For the new study, the researchers recruited 102 overweight or obese people with sleep apnea from six clinical centers in Australia, who were in their 40s, on average. The goal was to see if surgery could help adults with moderate or severe obstructive sleep apnea who weren't able to tolerate or adhere to CPAP devices.

Half of the volunteers were randomly assigned how long does viagra last to receive the sleep apnea surgery, while the other 51 continued with medical treatment. Medical management consisted of encouraging weight loss, drinking less alcohol, changing sleep posture and medical treatment for nasal obstruction. Continued MacKay said the multilevel surgical technique is widely available in many parts of the world.

For the patients in how long does viagra last this study, surgeries were performed by seven experienced surgeons. Six months after the surgical procedures, volunteers in the surgery group had about a 27% decrease in the number of apnea events at night. Those on medical treatment had just a 10% decrease.

People in the surgical group also had major improvements in levels of snoring and daytime sleepiness, as well as how long does viagra last a boost to quality of life. As with any surgical procedure, there are risks. "The main risks of pain and bleeding are confined to the two weeks after surgery.

Bleeding occurs in about one how long does viagra last in every 25 patients. Long-term risks related to taste disturbance, feeling of sticking in the throat, swallow dysfunction are very rare, although they do occur transiently in some," MacKay said. Dr.

Steven Feinsilver is director of the Center for Sleep Medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York how long does viagra last City. He said, "Sleep apnea is a very common disease, about as common as diabetes, and similar to diabetes is associated with increased risk for cardiovascular events, such as stroke and heart disease." He added that "CPAP works, but is a difficult treatment." Feinsilver said that surgery that could provide a permanent cure has long been the goal for treatment. "This study shows that relatively minor surgery, performed in a standardized fashion by skilled surgeons, can significantly improve sleep apnea compared to 'medical treatment' (essentially no treatment)," he said.

But he noted that even though people reported improvement, their nighttime breathing wasn't back in the normal range how long does viagra last. "This is certainly a major improvement, but it remains unclear whether outcomes (such as cardiovascular risk) will be significantly impacted," Feinsilver said. Also, he suggested that this multilevel surgery may only be an option for a select group of patients.

The how long does viagra last report was published online Sept. 4 in the Journal of the American Medical Association. WebMD News from HealthDay Sources SOURCES.

Stuart MacKay, MD, honorary clinical professor, otolaryngology, head and neck surgery, University of Wollongong, Australia. Steven Feinsilver, MD, director, Center for Sleep Medicine, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City;Journal of the American Medical Association, Sept. 4, 2020, online Copyright © 2013-2020 HealthDay.

By Serena Gordon https://www.andrees-angelreisen.de/how-to-buy-cheap-viagra-online/ HealthDay order viagra online Reporter TUESDAY, Sept. 8, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) may be the go-to treatment for sleep apnea, but many people struggle to use it every night. For those who cannot tolerate CPAP, new research finds that a combination of surgical techniques may bring relief. The "multilevel" treatment includes removing the order viagra online tonsils, repositioning the palate (roof of the mouth) and using radiofrequency to slightly reduce the size of the tongue. In combination, these procedures open up the airway and reduce breathing obstruction, the researchers said.

The study found that the multilevel surgery technique reduced the number of times people stopped breathing (apnea events) during sleep and improved daytime sleepiness. People also reported better quality of life order viagra online after the treatment. "Obstructive sleep apnea is common and many people cannot use the main treatments, like CPAP masks. Surgery is a valid option when an expert surgeon is involved, and it can improve outcomes," said the study's lead author, Dr. Stuart MacKay order viagra online.

He's an honorary clinical professor of otolaryngology, head and neck surgery at University of Wollongong, in Australia. The researchers said that nearly one billion people worldwide suffer from sleep apnea. The airway becomes blocked during sleep, and as a result people stop breathing for short order viagra online periods of time, multiple times throughout the night. People with sleep apnea have a higher risk of daytime sleepiness, motor vehicle crashes, and heart disease and stroke. CPAP does a good job at keeping your airway open as you sleep, but the treatment -- including a mask and a long tube -- can be hard to get used to.

The study order viagra online authors said only about half of people with sleep apnea try CPAP. For the new study, the researchers recruited 102 overweight or obese people with sleep apnea from six clinical centers in Australia, who were in their 40s, on average. The goal was to see if surgery could help adults with moderate or severe obstructive sleep apnea who weren't able to tolerate or adhere to CPAP devices. Half of the volunteers were randomly assigned to receive the sleep apnea surgery, while order viagra online the other 51 continued with medical treatment. Medical management consisted of encouraging weight loss, drinking less alcohol, changing sleep posture and medical treatment for nasal obstruction.

Continued MacKay said the multilevel surgical technique is widely available in many parts of the world. For the patients in this study, order viagra online surgeries were performed by seven experienced surgeons. Six months after the surgical procedures, volunteers in the surgery group had about a 27% decrease in the number of apnea events at night. Those on medical treatment had just a 10% decrease. People order viagra online in the surgical group also had major improvements in levels of snoring and daytime sleepiness, as well as a boost to quality of life.

As with any surgical procedure, there are risks. "The main risks of pain and bleeding are confined to the two weeks after surgery. Bleeding occurs in about one in order viagra online every 25 patients. Long-term risks related to taste disturbance, feeling of sticking in the throat, swallow dysfunction are very rare, although they do occur transiently in some," MacKay said. Dr.

Steven Feinsilver is director order viagra online of the Center for Sleep Medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. He said, "Sleep apnea is a very common disease, about as common as diabetes, and similar to diabetes is associated with increased risk for cardiovascular events, such as stroke and heart disease." He added that "CPAP works, but is a difficult treatment." Feinsilver said that surgery that could provide a permanent cure has long been the goal for treatment. "This study shows that relatively minor surgery, performed in a standardized fashion by skilled surgeons, can significantly improve sleep apnea compared to 'medical treatment' (essentially no treatment)," he said. But he noted that even though people reported improvement, their nighttime breathing wasn't back in the normal range order viagra online. "This is certainly a major improvement, but it remains unclear whether outcomes (such as cardiovascular risk) will be significantly impacted," Feinsilver said.

Also, he suggested that this multilevel surgery may only be an option for a select group of patients. The report was order viagra online published online Sept. 4 in the Journal of the American Medical Association. WebMD News from HealthDay Sources SOURCES. Stuart MacKay, MD, honorary order viagra online clinical professor, otolaryngology, head and neck surgery, University of Wollongong, Australia.

Steven Feinsilver, MD, director, Center for Sleep Medicine, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City;Journal of the American Medical Association, Sept. 4, 2020, online Copyright © 2013-2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved..

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Etchells E, viagra samples Ho M, Shojania KG girl viagra effects. Value of small sample sizes in rapid-cycle quality improvement projects. BMJ Qual Safe 2016;25:202–6.The article has girl viagra effects been corrected since it was published online. The authors want to alert readers to the following error identified in the published version. The error is in the last paragraph of the section “Small samples can make ‘rapid improvement’ Rapid”, wherein the minimum sample size has been considered as six instead girl viagra effects of eight.For this first (convenience) sample of 10 volunteer users, 5/10 (50%) completed the form without any input or instructions.

The other five became frustrated and gave up. Table 1 tells you that, with an observed girl viagra effects success rate of 50% and a desired target of 90%, any audit with a sample of six or more allows you to confidently reject the null hypothesis that your form is working at a 90% success rate.For decades, those working in hospitals normalised the incessant alarms from medical devices as a necessary, almost comforting, reality of a high tech industry. While nurses drowned in excessive, frequently uninformative alarms, other members of the healthcare team often paid little attention. Fortunately, times are changing and managing alarm fatigue is now a key patient safety priority in acute care environments.1Adverse patient events from alarm fatigue, particularly related to excessive physiological monitor alarms, have received widespread attention over the last decade, including from the news media.2–5 In the USA, hospitals redoubled alarm safety efforts following the 2013 Joint Commission Sentinel Event Alert and subsequent National Patient Safety Goals on alarm safety.1 girl viagra effects 2 6 We are now beginning to understand how to reduce excessive non-actionable alarms (including invalid alarms as well as those that are valid but not actionable or informative),7 8 better manage alarm notifications and ultimately improve patient safety. Alarm data are readily available and measuring alarm response time during patient care is possible.7 9 Yet we have few high-quality reports describing clear improvement to clinical alarm burden, and most published interventions are of limited scope, duration or both.10 11 To demonstrate value in alarm quality improvement (QI) efforts moving forward, we need more rigorous evidence for interventions and more meaningful outcome measures.In this issue of BMJ Quality and Safety, Pater et al12 report the results of a comprehensive multidisciplinary alarm management QI project executed over 3½ years in a 17-bed paediatric acute care cardiology unit.

The primary project goal was to girl viagra effects reduce alarm notifications from continuous bedside monitoring. Although limited to a single unit, the project is an important contribution to the scant literature on alarm management in paediatric settings for three reasons. First, the initiative lasted longer than most that have been reported, which allowed for tailoring of alarm interventions to the needs of the unit and patient population and measuring the impacts and sustainability over time. Second, the scope of the intervention bundle encompassed a wide variety of changes including adoption of a girl viagra effects smartphone notification system. Addition of time delays between when alarm thresholds are violated and when an alarm notification is issued.

Implementation of an alarm notification escalation algorithm after a certain girl viagra effects amount of time in alarm threshold violation. Deactivation of numerous technical alarms (such as respiratory lead detachment). Monitoring of electrode lead replacement girl viagra effects every 24 hours. And discussion of alarm parameters on daily rounds. Third, the authors introduced a girl viagra effects novel strategy for reducing the stress that alarms may cause patients and families by deactivating inroom alarm audio, although no outcomes were reported attributable directly to this component of the intervention.This project constitutes an important contribution to the published literature.

However, Pater et al faced two challenges that are ubiquitous in the field of clinical alarm management. (1) Identification of meaningful girl viagra effects outcome measures and (2) Lack of high-quality evidence for most interventions. With regards to the first challenge, the primary outcome measure used in the study comprised ‘initial alarm notifications’, defined as the first notification of a monitor alarm delivered to the nurse’s mobile device. Although initial alarm notifications declined by 68% following the intervention, these notifications accounted for only about half of all alarm notifications. The other half included second and third notifications for alarms exceeding girl viagra effects specified delay thresholds, which were sent both to the mobile device of the primary nurse and to ‘buddy’ nurses, potentially increasing alarm burden.

On the other hand, eliminating inroom audible alarms may have reduced the perceived alarm burden for nurses compared with having both bedside and mobile device notifications. Determining the true benefit of a reduction in a subset of alarms presents complex challenges.Alarm frequency is the most commonly used outcome measure in alarm research and QI projects, but reduction in alarms does not necessarily indicate improved patient safety or a highly functional girl viagra effects alarm management system. Alarm reduction could easily be achieved in an undesirable way by simply turning off alarms. Unfortunately, most studies have not been powered to statistically evaluate improvements in patient girl viagra effects safety. (Pater et al did monitor patient safety balancing measures, which remained stable after intervention implementation).

To assess change in nurses’ perceptions of alarm frequency, Pater et al conducted a prepost survey, which despite the small sample size (n=38 preintervention and n=25 postintervention) managed to show improvement, with the percentage of nurses agreeing they could respond to alarms girl viagra effects appropriately and quickly increasing from 32% to 76% (p<0.001). That said, this survey was not a validated measure of alarm fatigue. In fact, we currently have no widely accepted, validated tool for assessing alarm fatigue.11As we look girl viagra effects towards future evaluations of alarm management strategies, the focus needs to shift away from simply reducing the frequency of alarms to more meaningful outcome metrics. In addition to alarm rates, outcomes such as response time to actual patient alarms7 9 or to simulated alarms injected into real patient care environments13 may be better indicators of whether the entire alarm response system is functioning correctly. Larger, multisite studies are needed to assess patient outcomes.In addition to meaningful outcome measures, the second challenge for alarm QI projects is the lack of good evidence for alarm management interventions.

Most alarm reduction interventions have not girl viagra effects been systematically evaluated at all or only in small studies without a control group.10 11 As a result, alarm management projects tend to involve complex and costly bundles of interventions of uncertain benefit. The cost of these interventions is due in part to the growing industry of technology solutions for alarm management. Some institutions have also made massive investments in personnel, such as monitor ‘watchers’ to help nurses identify actionable alarms, for which there is also little evidence.14Future alarm management QI initiatives will benefit from a higher quality evidence base for the growing girl viagra effects list of potential alarm management interventions. Pragmatic trials that leverage meaningful outcome measures to assess alarm interventions are warranted. In addition, we need to evaluate interventions that address the full spectrum of the girl viagra effects alarm management system.

Most alarm management interventions to date have focused primarily on filtering out non-actionable alarms. Far less emphasis has been placed on ensuring that the nurse receiving the notification is available to respond to the alarm, a prime opportunity for future girl viagra effects work.Even if alarms are actionable, we know that nurses may not always respond quickly for a variety of reasons.7 15–17 Factors like insufficient staffing, high severity of illness on the unit and unbalanced nursing skill mix all likely contribute to inadequate alarm response. In critical care, nurses have reported that the nature of their work requires that they function as a team to respond to one another’s alarms.15 Although not ideal, nurses have developed heuristics based on factors like family presence at the bedside to help them prioritise alarm response in hectic work environments.7 16 Emphasising outcomes like faster alarm response time without addressing systems factors risks trading one patient safety problem for another. We do not want to engender more frequent interruptions of high-risk activities, like medication administration,18 19 because nurses feel compelled to respond more quickly to alarms.The robust QI initiative carried out by Pater et al reflects the type of thoughtful approach needed to implement and tailor alarm management interventions for a particular unit, demonstrating a generalisable process for others girl viagra effects to emulate. Ultimately, every alarm offers a potential benefit (opportunity to rescue a patient) and comes with a potential cost (eg, increased alarm fatigue, interruptions of other activities).

This trade-off needs to be optimised in the context of the individual unit, accounting for the unit-specific and systems factors that influence the cost of each additional alarm, including non-actionable alarm rates, unit layout, severity of illness and nurse staffing.17 20 With more robust outcome measures and more evidence to support interventions, we can increase the value of alarm QI initiatives and accelerate progress towards optimising alarm management systems.AcknowledgmentsWe thank Charles McCulloch, PhD (University of California, San Francisco) for comments on an early draft..

Etchells E, Ho M, check my source Shojania order viagra online KG. Value of small sample sizes in rapid-cycle quality improvement projects. BMJ Qual Safe 2016;25:202–6.The article has order viagra online been corrected since it was published online. The authors want to alert readers to the following error identified in the published version.

The error is in the last paragraph of the section “Small samples can make ‘rapid improvement’ Rapid”, wherein the minimum sample size has been considered as six instead of eight.For this first (convenience) sample of 10 volunteer users, 5/10 order viagra online (50%) completed the form without any input or instructions. The other five became frustrated and gave up. Table 1 tells you that, with an observed success rate of 50% and a desired target of 90%, any audit with a sample of six or more allows you to confidently reject the null hypothesis that your form is working at a 90% success rate.For decades, those working order viagra online in hospitals normalised the incessant alarms from medical devices as a necessary, almost comforting, reality of a high tech industry. While nurses drowned in excessive, frequently uninformative alarms, other members of the healthcare team often paid little attention.

Fortunately, times are changing and managing alarm fatigue is now a key patient safety priority in acute care environments.1Adverse patient events from alarm fatigue, particularly related to excessive physiological monitor alarms, have received widespread attention over the last decade, including from the news media.2–5 In the USA, hospitals redoubled alarm safety efforts following the 2013 Joint Commission Sentinel Event Alert and subsequent National Patient Safety Goals order viagra online on alarm safety.1 2 6 We are now beginning to understand how to reduce excessive non-actionable alarms (including invalid alarms as well as those that are valid but not actionable or informative),7 8 better manage alarm notifications and ultimately improve patient safety. Alarm data are readily available and measuring alarm response time during patient care is possible.7 9 Yet we have few high-quality reports describing clear improvement to clinical alarm burden, and most published interventions are of limited scope, duration or both.10 11 To demonstrate value in alarm quality improvement (QI) efforts moving forward, we need more rigorous evidence for interventions and more meaningful outcome measures.In this issue of BMJ Quality and Safety, Pater et al12 report the results of a comprehensive multidisciplinary alarm management QI project executed over 3½ years in a 17-bed paediatric acute care cardiology unit. The primary project goal was order viagra online to reduce alarm notifications from continuous bedside monitoring. Although limited to a single unit, the project is an important contribution to the scant literature on alarm management in paediatric settings for three reasons.

First, the initiative lasted longer than most that have been reported, which allowed for tailoring of alarm interventions to the needs of the unit and patient population and measuring the impacts and sustainability over time. Second, the scope of the intervention bundle encompassed a order viagra online wide variety of changes including adoption of a smartphone notification system. Addition of time delays between when alarm thresholds are violated and when an alarm notification is issued. Implementation of an alarm notification escalation algorithm after order viagra online a certain amount of time in alarm threshold violation.

Deactivation of numerous technical alarms (such as respiratory lead detachment). Monitoring of electrode lead replacement every order viagra online 24 hours. And discussion of alarm parameters on daily rounds. Third, the authors introduced a novel strategy for reducing the stress that alarms may cause patients and families by deactivating inroom order viagra online alarm audio, although no outcomes were reported attributable directly to this component of the intervention.This project constitutes an important contribution to the published literature.

However, Pater et al faced two challenges that are ubiquitous in the field of clinical alarm management. (1) Identification of meaningful order viagra online outcome measures and (2) Lack of high-quality evidence for most interventions. With regards to the first challenge, the primary outcome measure used in the study comprised ‘initial alarm notifications’, defined as the first notification of a monitor alarm delivered to the nurse’s mobile device. Although initial alarm notifications declined by 68% following the intervention, these notifications accounted for only about half of all alarm notifications.

The other half included second and third notifications for alarms exceeding specified delay thresholds, which were sent both to the mobile device of the primary order viagra online nurse and to ‘buddy’ nurses, potentially increasing alarm burden. On the other hand, eliminating inroom audible alarms may have reduced the perceived alarm burden for nurses compared with having both bedside and mobile device notifications. Determining the true benefit of a reduction in a subset of alarms presents complex challenges.Alarm frequency is the most commonly used outcome measure in alarm research and QI projects, but reduction in alarms does not necessarily indicate improved order viagra online patient safety or a highly functional alarm management system. Alarm reduction could easily be achieved in an undesirable way by simply turning off alarms.

Unfortunately, most studies order viagra online have not been powered to statistically evaluate improvements in patient safety. (Pater et al did monitor patient safety balancing measures, which remained stable after intervention implementation). To assess change in nurses’ perceptions of alarm frequency, Pater et al conducted a prepost survey, which despite the small sample size (n=38 preintervention and n=25 postintervention) managed to show improvement, with the percentage of nurses agreeing they could respond to alarms appropriately and quickly increasing from 32% to order viagra online 76% (p<0.001). That said, this survey was not a validated measure of alarm fatigue.

In fact, we currently have no widely accepted, validated tool for assessing alarm fatigue.11As we look towards future evaluations of alarm management strategies, the focus needs to shift away from order viagra online simply reducing the frequency of alarms to more meaningful outcome metrics. In addition to alarm rates, outcomes such as response time to actual patient alarms7 9 or to simulated alarms injected into real patient care environments13 may be better indicators of whether the entire alarm response system is functioning correctly. Larger, multisite studies are needed to assess patient outcomes.In addition to meaningful outcome measures, the second challenge for alarm QI projects is the lack of good evidence for alarm management interventions. Most alarm reduction interventions have not been systematically evaluated at all or only in small studies without a control group.10 11 As a result, alarm management projects tend to involve complex and costly order viagra online bundles of interventions of uncertain benefit.

The cost of these interventions is due in part to the growing industry of technology solutions for alarm management. Some institutions order viagra online have also made massive investments in personnel, such as monitor ‘watchers’ to help nurses identify actionable alarms, for which there is also little evidence.14Future alarm management QI initiatives will benefit from a higher quality evidence base for the growing list of potential alarm management interventions. Pragmatic trials that leverage meaningful outcome measures to assess alarm interventions are warranted. In addition, order viagra online we need to evaluate interventions that address the full spectrum of the alarm management system.

Most alarm management interventions to date have focused primarily on filtering out non-actionable alarms. Far less emphasis has been placed on ensuring that the nurse receiving the notification is available to respond to the alarm, a prime opportunity for future work.Even if alarms are actionable, we know that nurses may not always respond quickly for a order viagra online variety of reasons.7 15–17 Factors like insufficient staffing, high severity of illness on the unit and unbalanced nursing skill mix all likely contribute to inadequate alarm response. In critical care, nurses have reported that the nature of their work requires that they function as a team to respond to one another’s alarms.15 Although not ideal, nurses have developed heuristics based on factors like family presence at the bedside to help them prioritise alarm response in hectic work environments.7 16 Emphasising outcomes like faster alarm response time without addressing systems factors risks trading one patient safety problem for another. We do not want to engender more frequent interruptions of high-risk activities, like medication administration,18 19 because nurses feel compelled to respond more order viagra online quickly to alarms.The robust QI initiative carried out by Pater et al reflects the type of thoughtful approach needed to implement and tailor alarm management interventions for a particular unit, demonstrating a generalisable process for others to emulate.

Ultimately, every alarm offers a potential benefit (opportunity to rescue a patient) and comes with a potential cost (eg, increased alarm fatigue, interruptions of other activities). This trade-off needs to be optimised in the context of the individual unit, accounting for the unit-specific and systems factors that influence the cost of each additional alarm, including non-actionable alarm rates, unit layout, severity of illness and nurse staffing.17 20 With more robust outcome measures and more evidence to support interventions, we can increase the value of alarm QI initiatives and accelerate progress towards optimising alarm management systems.AcknowledgmentsWe thank Charles McCulloch, PhD (University of California, San Francisco) for comments on an early draft..

Natural viagra gnc

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John Rawls begins a Theory of Justice with the observation find out that 'Justice is the first virtue of social institutions, as truth is of systems of thought… Each person possesses an inviolability founded natural viagra gnc on justice that even the welfare of society as a whole cannot override'1 (p.3). The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in lock-downs, the restriction of liberties, debate about the right to refuse medical treatment and many other changes to the everyday behaviour natural viagra gnc of persons. The justice issues it raises are diverse, profound and will demand our attention for some time. How we can respect the Rawlsian commitment to the inviolability of natural viagra gnc each person, when the welfare of societies as a whole is under threat goes to the heart of some of the difficult ethical issues we face and are discussed in this issue of the Journal of Medical Ethics.The debate about ICU triage and COVID-19 is quite well developed and this journal has published several articles that explore aspects of this issue and how different places approach it.2–5 Newdick et al add to the legal analysis of triage decisions and criticise the calls for respecting a narrow conception of a legal right to treatment and more detailed national guidelines for how triage decisions should be made.6They consider scoring systems for clinical frailty, organ failure assessment, and raise some doubts about the fairness of their application to COVID-19 triage situations. Their argument seems to highlight instances of what is called the McNamara fallacy.

US Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara used enemy body counts as a measure of military success natural viagra gnc during the Vietnam war. So, the fallacy occurs when we rely solely on considerations that appear to be quantifiable, to the neglect of vital qualitative, difficult to measure or contestable features.6 Newdick et al point to variation in assessment, subtlety in condition and other factors as reasons why it is misleading to present scoring systems as ‘objective’ tests for triage. In doing so they draw a distinction between procedural and outcome consistency, which is important, and natural viagra gnc hints at distinctions Rawls drew between the different forms of procedural fairness. While we might hope to come up with a triage protocol that is procedurally fair and arrives at a fair outcome (what Rawls calls perfect procedural justice, p. 85) there natural viagra gnc is little prospect of that.

As they observe, reasonable people can disagree about the outcomes we should aim for in allocating health resources and ICU triage for COVID-19 is no exception. Instead, we should work toward a transparent and fair natural viagra gnc process, what Rawls would describe as imperfect procedural justice (p. 85). His example of this is a criminal trial where we adopt processes that we have reason to believe are our best chance of determining guilt, but which do not guarantee the truth of a verdict, and this is a reason why they must be transparent and consistent (p. 85).

Their proposal is to triage patients into three broad categories. High, medium and low priority, with the thought that a range of considerations could feed into that evaluation by an appropriately constituted clinical group.Ballantyne et al question another issue that is central to the debate about COVID-19 triage.4 They describe how utility measures such as QALYs, lives saved seem to be in tension with equity. Their central point is that ICU for COVID-19 can be futile, and that is a reason for questioning how much weight should be given to equality of access to ICU for COVID-19. They claim that there is little point admitting someone to ICU when ICU is not in their best interests. Instead, the scope of equity should encompass preventing 'remediable differences among social, economic demographic or geographic groups' and for COVID-19 that means looking beyond access to ICU.

Their central argument can be summarised as follows.Maximising utility can entrench existing health inequalities.The majority of those ventilated for COVID-19 in ICU will die.Admitting frailer or comorbid patients to ICU is likely to do more harm than good to these groups.Therefore, better access to ICU is unlikely to promote health equity for these groups.Equity for those with health inequalities related to COVID-19 should broadened to include all the services a system might provide.Brown et al argue in favour of COVID-19 immunity passports and the following summarises one of the key arguments in their article.7COVID-19 immunity passports are a way of demonstrating low personal and social risk.Those who are at low personal risk and low social risk from COVID-19 should be permitted more freedoms.Permitting those with immunity passports greater freedoms discriminates against those who do not have passports.Low personal and social risk and preserving health system capacity are relevant reasons to discriminate between those who have immunity and those who do not.Brown et al then consider a number of potential problems with immunity passports, many of which are justice issues. Resentment by those who do not hold an immunity passport along with a loss of social cohesion, which is vital for responding to COVID-19, are possible downsides. There is also the potential to advantage those who are immune, economically, and it could perpetuate existing inequalities. A significant objection, which is a problem for the justice of many policies, is free riding. Some might create fraudulent immunity passports and it might even incentivise intentional exposure to the virus.

Brown et al suggest that disincentives and punishment are potential solutions and they are in good company as the Rawlsian solution to free riding is for 'law and government to correct the necessary corrections.' (p. 268)Elves and Herring focus on a set of ethical principles intended to guide those making policy and individual level decisions about adult social care delivery impacted by the pandemic.8 They criticize the British government’s framework for being silent about what to do in the face of conflict between principles. They suggest the dominant values in the framework are based on autonomy and individualism and argue that there are good reasons for not making autonomy paramount in policy about COVID-19. These include that information about COVID-19 is incomplete, so no one can be that informed on decisions about their health. The second is one that highlights the importance of viewing our present ethical challenges via the lens of justice or other ethical concepts such as community or solidarity that enable us to frame collective obligations and interests.

They observe that COVID-19 has demonstrated how health and how we live our lives are linked. That what an individual does can have profound impact on the health of many others.Their view is that appeals to self-determination ring hollow for COVID-19 and their proposed remedy is one that pushes us to reflect on what the liberal commitment to the inviolability of each person means. They explain Dworkin’s account of 'associative obligations' which occur within a group when they acknowledge special rights and responsibilities to each other. These obligations are a way of giving weight to community considerations, without collapsing into full-blown utilitarianism and while still respecting the inviolability of persons.The COVID-19 pandemic is pushing ethical deliberation in new directions and many of them turn on approaching medical ethics with a greater emphasis on justice and related ethical concepts.IntroductionAs COVID-19 spread internationally, healthcare services in many countries became overwhelmed. One of the main manifestations of this was a shortage of intensive care beds, leading to urgent discussion about how to allocate these fairly.

In the initial debates about allocation of scarce intensive care unit (ICU) resources, there was optimism about the ‘good’ of ICU access. However, rather than being a life-saving intervention, data began to emerge in mid-April showing that most critical patients with COVID-19 who receive access to a ventilator do not survive to discharge. The minority who survive leave the ICU with significant morbidity and a long and uncertain road to recovery. This reality was under-recognised in bioethics debates about ICU triage throughout March and April 2020. Central to these disucssions were two assumptions.

First, that ICU admission was a valuable but scarce resource in the pandemic context. And second, that both equity and utility considerations were important in determining which patients should have access to ICU. In this paper we explain how scarcity and value were conflated in the early ICU COVID-19 triage literature, leading to undue optimism about the ‘good’ of ICU access, which in turned fuelled equity-based arguments for ICU access. In the process, ethical issues regarding equitable access to end-of-life care more broadly were neglected.Equity requires the prevention of avoidable or remediable differences among social, economic, demographic, or geographic groups.1 How best to apply an equity lens to questions of distribution will depend on the nature of the resource in question. Equitable distribution of ICU beds is significantly more complex than equitable distribution of other goods that might be scarce in a pandemic, such as masks or vaccines.

ICU (especially that which involves intubation and ventilation i.e. Mechanical ventilation) is a burdensome treatment option that can lead to significant suffering—both short and long term. The degree to which these burdens are justified depends on the probability of benefit, and this depends on the clinical status of the patient. People are rightly concerned about the equity implications of excluding patients from ICU on the grounds of pre-existing comorbidities that directly affect prognosis, especially when these align with and reflect social disadvantage. But this does not mean that aged, frail or comorbid patients should be admitted to ICU on the grounds of equity, when this may not be in their best interests.ICU triage debateThe COVID-19 pandemic generated extraordinary demand for critical care and required hard choices about who will receive presumed life-saving interventions such as ICU admission.

The debate has focused on whether or not a utilitarian approach aimed at maximising the number of lives (or life-years) saved should be supplemented by equity considerations that attempt to protect the rights and interests of members of marginalised groups. The utilitarian approach uses criteria for access to ICU that focus on capacity to benefit, understood as survival.2 Supplementary equity considerations have been invoked to relax the criteria in order to give a more diverse group of people a chance of entering ICU.3 4Equity-based critiques are grounded in the concern that a utilitarian approach aimed at maximising the number (or length) of lives saved may well exacerbate inequity in survival rates between groups. This potential for discrimination is heightened if triage tools use age as a proxy for capacity to benefit or are heavily reliant on Quality-Adjusted Life-Years (QALYs) which will deprioritise people with disabilities.5 6 Even if these pitfalls are avoided, policies based on maximising lives saved entrench existing heath inequalities because those most likely to benefit from treatment will be people of privilege who come into the pandemic with better health status than less advantaged people. Those from lower socioeconomic groups, and/or some ethnic minorities have high rates of underlying comorbidities, some of https://www.andrees-angelreisen.de/viagra-tablet-online/ which are prognostically relevant in COVID-19 infection. Public health ethics requires that we acknowledge how apparently neutral triage tools reflect and reinforce these disparities, especially where the impact can be lethal.7But the utility versus equity debate is more complex than it first appears.

Both the utility and equity approach to ICU triage start from the assumption that ICU is a valuable good—the dispute is about how best to allocate it. Casting ICU admission as a scarce good subject to rationing has the (presumably unintended) effect of making access to critical care look highly appealing, triggering cognitive biases. Psychologists and marketers know that scarcity sells.8 People value a commodity more when it is difficult or impossible to obtain.9 When there is competition for scarce resources, people focus less on whether they really need or want the resource. The priority becomes securing access to the resource.Clinicians are not immune to scarcity-related cognitive bias. Clinicians treating patients with COVID-19 are working under conditions of significant information overload but without the high quality clinical research (generated from large data sets and rigorous methodology) usually available for decision-making.

The combination of overwhelming numbers of patients, high acuity and uncertainty regarding best practice is deeply anxiety provoking. In this context it is unsurprising that, at least in the early stages of the pandemic, they may not have the psychological bandwidth to challenge assumptions about the benefits of ICU admission for patients with severe disease. Zagury-Orly and Schwartzstein have recently argued that the health sector must accept that doctors’ reasoning and decision-making are susceptible to human anxieties and in the “…effort to ‘do good’ for our patients, we may fall prey to cognitive biases and therapeutic errors”.10We suggest the global publicity and panic regarding ICU triage distorted assessments of best interests and decision-making about admittance to ICU and slanted ethical debate. This has the potential to compromise important decisions with regard to care for patients with COVID-19.The emerging reality of ICUIn general, the majority of patients who are ventilated for COVID-19 in ICU will die. Although comparing data from different health systems is challenging due to variation in admission criteria for ICU, clear trends are emerging with regard to those critically unwell and requiring mechanical ventilation.

Emerging data show case fatality rates of 50%–88% for ventilated patients with COVID-19. In China11 and Italy about half of those with COVID-19 who receive ventilator support have not survived.12 In one small study in Wuhan the ICU mortality rate among those who received invasive mechanical ventilation was 86% (19/22).13 Interestingly, the rate among those who received less intensive non-invasive ventilation (NIV)1 was still 79% (23/29).13 Analysis of 5700 patients in the New York City area showed that the mortality for those receiving mechanical ventilation was 88%.14 In the UK, only 20% of those who have received mechanical ventilation have been discharged alive.15 Hence, the very real possibility of medical futility with regard to ventilation in COVID-19 needs to be considered.It is also important to consider the complications and side effects that occur in an ICU context. These patients are vulnerable to hospital acquired infections such as ventilator associated pneumonias with high mortality rates in their own right,16 neuropathies, myopathies17 and skin damage. Significant long term morbidity (physical, mental and emotional challenges) can also be experienced by people who survive prolonged ventilation in ICU.12 18 Under normal (non-pandemic) circumstances, many ICU patients experience significant muscle atrophy and deconditioning, sleep disorders, severe fatigue,19 post-traumatic stress disorder,20 cognitive deficits,21 depression, anxiety, difficulty with daily activities and loss of employment.22 Although it is too soon to have data on the long term outcomes of ICU survivors in the specific context of COVID-19, the UK Chartered Society of Physiotherapy predicts a ‘tsunami of rehabilitation needs’ as patients with COVID-19 begin to be discharged.23 The indirect effects of carer-burden should also not be underestimated, as research shows that caring for patients who have survived critical illness results in high levels of depressive symptoms for the majority of caregivers.24The emerging mortality data for patients with COVID-19 admitted to ICU—in conjunction with what is already known about the morbidity of ICU survivors—has significant implications for the utility–equity debates about allocating the scarce resource of ICU beds. First, they undermine the utility argument as there seems to be little evidence that ICU admission leads to better outcomes for patients, especially when the long term morbidity of extended ICU admission is included in the balance of burdens and benefits.

For some patients, perhaps many, the burdens of ICU will not outweigh the limited potential benefits. Second, the poor survival rates challenge the equity-based claim for preferential access to treatment for members of disadvantaged groups. In particular, admitting frailer or comorbid patients to ICU to fulfil equity goals is unlikely to achieve greater survival for these population groups, but will increase their risk of complications and may ultimately exacerbate or prolong their suffering.The high proportions of people who die despite ICU admission make it particularly important to consider what might constitute better or worse experiences of dying with COVID-19, and how ICU admission affects the likelihood of a ‘good’ death. Critical care may compromise the ability of patients to communicate and engage with their families during the terminal phase of their lives—in the context of an intubated, ventilated patient this is unequivocal.Given the high rates of medical futility with patients with COVID-19 in ICU, the very significant risks for further suffering in the short and long term and the compromise of important psychosocial needs—such as communicating with our families—in the terminal phase of life, our ethical scope must be wider than ICU triage. Ho and Tsai argue that, “In considering effective and efficient allocation of healthcare resources as well as physical and psychological harm that can be incurred in prolonging the dying process, there is a critical need to reframe end-of-life care planning in the ICU.”25 We propose that the focus on equity concerns during the pandemic should broaden to include providing all people who need it with access to the highest possible standard of end-of-life care.

This requires attention to minimising barriers to accessing culturally safe care in the following interlinked areas. Palliative care, and communication and decision support and advanced care planning.Palliative careScaling up palliative and hospice care is an essential component of the COVID-19 pandemic response. Avoiding non-beneficial or unwanted high-intensity care is critical when the capacity of the health system is stressed.26 Palliative care focuses on symptom management, quality of life and death, and holistic care of physical, psychological, social and spiritual health.27 Evidence from Italy has prompted recommendations that, “Governments must urgently recognise the essential contribution of hospice and palliative care to the COVID-19 pandemic, and ensure these services are integrated into the healthcare system response.”28 Rapid palliative care policy changes were implemented in response to COVID-19 in Italy, including more support in community settings, change in admission criteria and daily telephone support for families.28 To meet this increased demand, hospice and palliative care staff should be included in personal protective equipment (PPE) allocation and provided with appropriate infection preventon and control training when dealing with patients with COVID-19 or high risk areas.Attention must also be directed to maintaining supply lines for essential medications for pain, distress and sedation. Patients may experience pain due to existing comorbidities, but may also develop pain as a result of excessive coughing or immobility from COVID-19. Such symptoms should be addressed using existing approaches to pain management.27 Supply lines for essential medications for distress and pain management, including fentanyl and midazolam are under threat in the USA and propofol—used in terminal sedation—may also be in short supply.29 The challenges are exacerbated when people who for various reasons eschew or are unable to secure hospital admission decline rapidly at home with COVID-19 (the time frame of recognition that someone is dying may be shorter than that through which hospice at home services usually support people).

There is growing debate about the fair allocation of novel drugs—sometimes available as part of ongoing clinical trials—to treat COVID-19 with curative intent.2 30 But we must also pay attention to the fair allocation of drugs needed to ease suffering and dying.Communication and end-of-life decision-making supportEnd-of-life planning can be especially challenging because patients, family members and healthcare providers often differ in what they consider most important near the end of life.31 Less than half of ICU physicians—40.6% in high income countries and 46.3% in low–middle income countries—feel comfortable holding end-of-life discussions with patients’ families.25 With ICUs bursting and health providers under extraordinary pressure, their capacity to effectively support end-of-life decisions and to ease dying will be reduced.This suggests a need for specialist COVID-19 communication support teams, analogous to the idea of specialist ICU triage teams to ensure consistency of decision making about ICU admissions/discharges, and to reduce the moral and psychological distress of health providers during the pandemic.32 These support teams could provide up to date information templates for patients and families, support decision-making, the development of advance care plans (ACPs) and act as a liaison between families (prevented from being in the hospital), the patient and the clinical team. Some people with disabilities may require additional communication support to ensure the patients’ needs are communicated to all health providers.33 This will be especially important if carers and visitors are not able to be present.To provide effective and appropriate support in an equitable way, communication teams will need to include those with the appropriate skills for caring for diverse populations including. Interpreters, specialist social workers, disability advocates and cultural support liaison officers for ethnic and religious minorities. Patient groups that already have comparatively poor health outcomes require dedicated resources. These support resources are essential if we wish to truly mitigate equity concerns that arisingduring the pandemic context.

See Box 1 for examples of specific communication and care strategies to support patients.Box 1 Supporting communication and compassionate care during COVID-19Despite the sometimes overwhelming pressure of the pandemic, health providers continue to invest in communication, compassionate care and end-of-life support. In some places, doctors have taken photos of their faces and taped these to the front of their PPE so that patients can ‘see’ their face.37 In Singapore, patients who test positive for SARS-CoV-2 are quarantined in health facilities until they receive two consecutive negative tests. Patients may be isolated in hospital for several weeks. To help ease this burden on patients, health providers have dubbed themselves the ‘second family’ and gone out of their way to provide care as well as treatment. Elsewhere, medical, nursing and multi-disciplinary teams are utilising internet based devices to enable ‘virtual’ visits and contact between patients and their loved ones.38 Some centres are providing staff with masks with a see-through window panel that shows the wearer’s mouth, to support effective communication with patient with hearing loss who rely on lip reading.39Advance care planningACPs aim to honour decisions made by autonomous patients if and when they lose capacity.

However, talking to patients and their loved ones about clinical prognosis, ceilings of treatment and potential end-of-life care is challenging even in normal times. During COVID-19 the challenges are exacerbated by uncertainty and urgency, the absence of family support (due to visitor restrictions) and the wearing of PPE by clinicians and carers. Protective equipment can create a formidable barrier between the patient and the provider, often adding to the patient’s sense of isolation and fear. An Australian palliative care researcher with experience working in disaster zones, argues that the “PPE may disguise countenance, restrict normal human touch and create an unfamiliar gulf between you and your patient.”34 The physical and psychological barriers of PPE coupled with the pressure of high clinical loads do not seem conducive to compassionate discussions about patients’ end-of-life preferences. Indeed, a study in Singapore during the 2004 SARS epidemic demonstrated the barrier posed by PPE to compassionate end-of-life care.35Clinicians may struggle to interpret existing ACPs in the context of COVID-19, given the unprecedented nature and scale of the pandemic and emerging clinical knowledge about the aetiology of the disease and (perhaps especially) about prognosis.

This suggests the need for COVID-19-specific ACPs. Where possible, proactive planning should occur with high-risk patients, the frail, those in residential care and those with significant underlying morbidities. Ideally, ACP conversations should take place prior to illness, involve known health providers and carers, not be hampered by PPE or subject to time constraints imposed by acute care contexts. Of note here, a systematic review found that patients who received advance care planning or palliative care interventions consistently showed a pattern toward decreased ICU admissions and reduced ICU length of stay.36ConclusionHow best to address equity concerns in relation to ICU and end-of-life care for patients with COVID-19 is challenging and complex. Attempts to broaden clinical criteria to give patients with poorer prognoses access to ICU on equity grounds may result in fewer lives saved overall—this may well be justified if access to ICU confers benefit to these ‘equity’ patients.

But we must avoid tokenistic gestures to equity—admitting patients with poor prognostic indicators to ICU to meet an equity target when intensive critical care is contrary to their best interests. ICU admission may exacerbate and prolong suffering rather than ameliorate it, especially for frailer patients. And prolonging life at all costs may ultimately lead to a worse death. The capacity for harm not just the capacity for benefit should be emphasised in any triage tools and related literature. Equity can be addressed more robustly if pandemic responses scale up investment in palliative care services, communication and decision-support services and advanced care planning to meet the needs of all patients with COVID-19.

Ultimately, however, equity considerations will require us to move even further from a critical care framework as the social and economic impact of the pandemic will disproportionately impact those most vulnerable. Globally, we will need an approach that does not just stop an exponential rise in infections but an exponential rise in inequality.AcknowledgmentsWe would like to thank Tracy Anne Dunbrook and David Tripp for their helpful comments, and NUS Medicine for permission to reproduce the COVID-19 Chronicles strip..

John Rawls begins a Theory of order viagra online Justice with the observation that 'Justice is the first virtue of social what is the difference between viagra and cialis institutions, as truth is of systems of thought… Each person possesses an inviolability founded on justice that even the welfare of society as a whole cannot override'1 (p.3). The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in lock-downs, the restriction of liberties, debate about order viagra online the right to refuse medical treatment and many other changes to the everyday behaviour of persons. The justice issues it raises are diverse, profound and will demand our attention for some time. How we can respect the Rawlsian commitment to the inviolability of each person, when the welfare of societies as a whole is under threat goes to the heart of some of the difficult ethical issues we face and are discussed order viagra online in this issue of the Journal of Medical Ethics.The debate about ICU triage and COVID-19 is quite well developed and this journal has published several articles that explore aspects of this issue and how different places approach it.2–5 Newdick et al add to the legal analysis of triage decisions and criticise the calls for respecting a narrow conception of a legal right to treatment and more detailed national guidelines for how triage decisions should be made.6They consider scoring systems for clinical frailty, organ failure assessment, and raise some doubts about the fairness of their application to COVID-19 triage situations. Their argument seems to highlight instances of what is called the McNamara fallacy.

US Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara used enemy body order viagra online counts as a measure of military success during the Vietnam war. So, the fallacy occurs when we rely solely on considerations that appear to be quantifiable, to the neglect of vital qualitative, difficult to measure or contestable features.6 Newdick et al point to variation in assessment, subtlety in condition and other factors as reasons why it is misleading to present scoring systems as ‘objective’ tests for triage. In doing so they draw a order viagra online distinction between procedural and outcome consistency, which is important, and hints at distinctions Rawls drew between the different forms of procedural fairness. While we might hope to come up with a triage protocol that is procedurally fair and arrives at a fair outcome (what Rawls calls perfect procedural justice, p. 85) there is order viagra online little prospect of that.

As they observe, reasonable people can disagree about the outcomes we should aim for in allocating health resources and ICU triage for COVID-19 is no exception. Instead, we should work toward a transparent order viagra online and fair process, what Rawls would describe as imperfect procedural justice (p. 85). His example of this is a criminal trial where we adopt processes that we have reason to believe are our best chance of determining guilt, but which do not guarantee the truth of a verdict, and this is a reason why they must be transparent and consistent (p. 85).

Their proposal is to triage patients into three broad categories. High, medium and low priority, with the thought that a range of considerations could feed into that evaluation by an appropriately constituted clinical group.Ballantyne et al question another issue that is central to the debate about COVID-19 triage.4 They describe how utility measures such as QALYs, lives saved seem to be in tension with equity. Their central point is that ICU for COVID-19 can be futile, and that is a reason for questioning how much weight should be given to equality of access to ICU for COVID-19. They claim that there is little point admitting someone to ICU when ICU is not in their best interests. Instead, the scope of equity should encompass preventing 'remediable differences among social, economic demographic or geographic groups' and for COVID-19 that means looking beyond access to ICU.

Their central argument can be summarised as follows.Maximising utility can entrench existing health inequalities.The majority of those ventilated for COVID-19 in ICU will die.Admitting frailer or comorbid patients to ICU is likely to do more harm than good to these groups.Therefore, better access to ICU is unlikely to promote health equity for these groups.Equity for those with health inequalities related to COVID-19 should broadened to include all the services a system might provide.Brown et al argue in favour of COVID-19 immunity passports and the following summarises one of the key arguments in their article.7COVID-19 immunity passports are a way of demonstrating low personal and social risk.Those who are at low personal risk and low social risk from COVID-19 should be permitted more freedoms.Permitting those with immunity passports greater freedoms discriminates against those who do not have passports.Low personal and social risk and preserving health system capacity are relevant reasons to discriminate between those who have immunity and those who do not.Brown et al then consider a number of potential problems with immunity passports, many of which are justice issues. Resentment by those who do not hold an immunity passport along with a loss of social cohesion, which is vital for responding to COVID-19, are possible downsides. There is also the potential to advantage those who are immune, economically, and it could perpetuate existing inequalities. A significant objection, which is a problem for the justice of many policies, is free riding. Some might create fraudulent immunity passports and it might even incentivise intentional exposure to the virus.

Brown et al suggest that disincentives and punishment are potential solutions and they are in good company as the Rawlsian solution to free riding is for 'law and government to correct the necessary corrections.' (p. 268)Elves and Herring focus on a set of ethical principles intended to guide those making policy and individual level decisions about adult social care delivery impacted by the pandemic.8 They criticize the British government’s framework for being silent about what to do in the face of conflict between principles. They suggest the dominant values in the framework are based on autonomy and individualism and argue that there are good reasons for not making autonomy paramount in policy about COVID-19. These include that information about COVID-19 is incomplete, so no one can be that informed on decisions about their health. The second is one that highlights the importance of viewing our present ethical challenges via the lens of justice or other ethical concepts such as community or solidarity that enable us to frame collective obligations and interests.

They observe that COVID-19 has demonstrated how health and how we live our lives are linked. That what an individual does can have profound impact on the health of many others.Their view is that appeals to self-determination ring hollow for COVID-19 and their proposed remedy is one that pushes us to reflect on what the liberal commitment to the inviolability of each person means. They explain Dworkin’s account of 'associative obligations' which occur within a group when they acknowledge special rights and responsibilities to each other. These obligations are a way of giving weight to community considerations, without collapsing into full-blown utilitarianism and while still respecting the inviolability of persons.The COVID-19 pandemic is pushing ethical deliberation in new directions and many of them turn on approaching medical ethics with a greater emphasis on justice and related ethical concepts.IntroductionAs COVID-19 spread internationally, healthcare services in many countries became overwhelmed. One of the main manifestations of this was a shortage of intensive care beds, leading to urgent discussion about how to allocate these fairly.

In the initial debates about allocation of scarce intensive care unit (ICU) resources, there was optimism about the ‘good’ of ICU access. However, rather than being a life-saving intervention, data began to emerge in mid-April showing that most critical patients with COVID-19 who receive access to a ventilator do not survive to discharge. The minority who survive leave the ICU with significant morbidity and a long and uncertain road to recovery. This reality was under-recognised in bioethics debates about ICU triage throughout March and April 2020. Central to these disucssions were two assumptions.

First, that ICU admission was a valuable but scarce resource in the pandemic context. And second, that both equity and utility considerations were important in determining which patients should have access to ICU. In this paper we explain how scarcity and value were conflated in the early ICU COVID-19 triage literature, leading to undue optimism about the ‘good’ of ICU access, which in turned fuelled equity-based arguments for ICU access. In the process, ethical issues regarding equitable access to end-of-life care more broadly were neglected.Equity requires the prevention of avoidable or remediable differences among social, economic, demographic, or geographic groups.1 How best to apply an equity lens to questions of distribution will depend on the nature of the resource in question. Equitable distribution of ICU beds is significantly more complex than equitable distribution of other goods that might be scarce in a pandemic, such as masks or vaccines.

ICU (especially that which involves intubation and ventilation i.e. Mechanical ventilation) is a burdensome treatment option that can lead to significant suffering—both short and long term. The degree to which these burdens are justified depends on the probability of benefit, and this depends on the clinical status of the patient. People are rightly concerned about the equity implications of excluding patients from ICU on the grounds of pre-existing comorbidities that directly affect prognosis, especially when these align with and reflect social disadvantage. But this does not mean that aged, frail or comorbid patients should be admitted to ICU on the grounds of equity, when this may not be in their best interests.ICU triage debateThe COVID-19 pandemic generated extraordinary demand for critical care and required hard choices about who will receive presumed life-saving interventions such as ICU admission.

The debate has focused on whether or not a utilitarian approach aimed at maximising the number of lives (or life-years) saved should be supplemented by equity considerations that attempt to protect the rights and interests of members of marginalised groups. The utilitarian approach uses criteria for access to ICU that focus on capacity to benefit, understood as survival.2 Supplementary equity considerations have been invoked to relax the criteria in order to give a more diverse group of people a chance of entering ICU.3 4Equity-based critiques are grounded in the concern that a utilitarian approach aimed at maximising the number (or length) of lives saved may well exacerbate inequity in survival rates between groups. This potential for discrimination is heightened if triage tools use age as a proxy for capacity to benefit or are heavily reliant on Quality-Adjusted Life-Years (QALYs) which will deprioritise people with disabilities.5 6 Even if these pitfalls are avoided, policies based on maximising lives saved entrench existing heath inequalities because those most likely to benefit from treatment will be people of privilege who come into the pandemic with better health status than less advantaged people. Those from lower socioeconomic groups, and/or some ethnic minorities have high rates of underlying comorbidities, some of which are reference prognostically relevant in COVID-19 infection. Public health ethics requires that we acknowledge how apparently neutral triage tools reflect and reinforce these disparities, especially where the impact can be lethal.7But the utility versus equity debate is more complex than it first appears.

Both the utility and equity approach to ICU triage start from the assumption that ICU is a valuable good—the dispute is about how best to allocate it. Casting ICU admission as a scarce good subject to rationing has the (presumably unintended) effect of making access to critical care look highly appealing, triggering cognitive biases. Psychologists and marketers know that scarcity sells.8 People value a commodity more when it is difficult or impossible to obtain.9 When there is competition for scarce resources, people focus less on whether they really need or want the resource. The priority becomes securing access to the resource.Clinicians are not immune to scarcity-related cognitive bias. Clinicians treating patients with COVID-19 are working under conditions of significant information overload but without the high quality clinical research (generated from large data sets and rigorous methodology) usually available for decision-making.

The combination of overwhelming numbers of patients, high acuity and uncertainty regarding best practice is deeply anxiety provoking. In this context it is unsurprising that, at least in the early stages of the pandemic, they may not have the psychological bandwidth to challenge assumptions about the benefits of ICU admission for patients with severe disease. Zagury-Orly and Schwartzstein have recently argued that the health sector must accept that doctors’ reasoning and decision-making are susceptible to human anxieties and in the “…effort to ‘do good’ for our patients, we may fall prey to cognitive biases and therapeutic errors”.10We suggest the global publicity and panic regarding ICU triage distorted assessments of best interests and decision-making about admittance to ICU and slanted ethical debate. This has the potential to compromise important decisions with regard to care for patients with COVID-19.The emerging reality of ICUIn general, the majority of patients who are ventilated for COVID-19 in ICU will die. Although comparing data from different health systems is challenging due to variation in admission criteria for ICU, clear trends are emerging with regard to those critically unwell and requiring mechanical ventilation.

Emerging data show case fatality rates of 50%–88% for ventilated patients with COVID-19. In China11 and Italy about half of those with COVID-19 who receive ventilator support have not survived.12 In one small study in Wuhan the ICU mortality rate among those who received invasive mechanical ventilation was 86% (19/22).13 Interestingly, the rate among those who received less intensive non-invasive ventilation (NIV)1 was still 79% (23/29).13 Analysis of 5700 patients in the New York City area showed that the mortality for those receiving mechanical ventilation was 88%.14 In the UK, only 20% of those who have received mechanical ventilation have been discharged alive.15 Hence, the very real possibility of medical futility with regard to ventilation in COVID-19 needs to be considered.It is also important to consider the complications and side effects that occur in an ICU context. These patients are vulnerable to hospital acquired infections such as ventilator associated pneumonias with high mortality rates in their own right,16 neuropathies, myopathies17 and skin damage. Significant long term morbidity (physical, mental and emotional challenges) can also be experienced by people who survive prolonged ventilation in ICU.12 18 Under normal (non-pandemic) circumstances, many ICU patients experience significant muscle atrophy and deconditioning, sleep disorders, severe fatigue,19 post-traumatic stress disorder,20 cognitive deficits,21 depression, anxiety, difficulty with daily activities and loss of employment.22 Although it is too soon to have data on the long term outcomes of ICU survivors in the specific context of COVID-19, the UK Chartered Society of Physiotherapy predicts a ‘tsunami of rehabilitation needs’ as patients with COVID-19 begin to be discharged.23 The indirect effects of carer-burden should also not be underestimated, as research shows that caring for patients who have survived critical illness results in high levels of depressive symptoms for the majority of caregivers.24The emerging mortality data for patients with COVID-19 admitted to ICU—in conjunction with what is already known about the morbidity of ICU survivors—has significant implications for the utility–equity debates about allocating the scarce resource of ICU beds. First, they undermine the utility argument as there seems to be little evidence that ICU admission leads to better outcomes for patients, especially when the long term morbidity of extended ICU admission is included in the balance of burdens and benefits.

For some patients, perhaps many, the burdens of ICU will not outweigh the limited potential benefits. Second, the poor survival rates challenge the equity-based claim for preferential access to treatment for members of disadvantaged groups. In particular, admitting frailer or comorbid patients to ICU to fulfil equity goals is unlikely to achieve greater survival for these population groups, but will increase their risk of complications and may ultimately exacerbate or prolong their suffering.The high proportions of people who die despite ICU admission make it particularly important to consider what might constitute better or worse experiences of dying with COVID-19, and how ICU admission affects the likelihood of a ‘good’ death. Critical care may compromise the ability of patients to communicate and engage with their families during the terminal phase of their lives—in the context of an intubated, ventilated patient this is unequivocal.Given the high rates of medical futility with patients with COVID-19 in ICU, the very significant risks for further suffering in the short and long term and the compromise of important psychosocial needs—such as communicating with our families—in the terminal phase of life, our ethical scope must be wider than ICU triage. Ho and Tsai argue that, “In considering effective and efficient allocation of healthcare resources as well as physical and psychological harm that can be incurred in prolonging the dying process, there is a critical need to reframe end-of-life care planning in the ICU.”25 We propose that the focus on equity concerns during the pandemic should broaden to include providing all people who need it with access to the highest possible standard of end-of-life care.

This requires attention to minimising barriers to accessing culturally safe care in the following interlinked areas. Palliative care, and communication and decision support and advanced care planning.Palliative careScaling up palliative and hospice care is an essential component of the COVID-19 pandemic response. Avoiding non-beneficial or unwanted high-intensity care is critical when the capacity of the health system is stressed.26 Palliative care focuses on symptom management, quality of life and death, and holistic care of physical, psychological, social and spiritual health.27 Evidence from Italy has prompted recommendations that, “Governments must urgently recognise the essential contribution of hospice and palliative care to the COVID-19 pandemic, and ensure these services are integrated into the healthcare system response.”28 Rapid palliative care policy changes were implemented in response to COVID-19 in Italy, including more support in community settings, change in admission criteria and daily telephone support for families.28 To meet this increased demand, hospice and palliative care staff should be included in personal protective equipment (PPE) allocation and provided with appropriate infection preventon and control training when dealing with patients with COVID-19 or high risk areas.Attention must also be directed to maintaining supply lines for essential medications for pain, distress and sedation. Patients may experience pain due to existing comorbidities, but may also develop pain as a result of excessive coughing or immobility from COVID-19. Such symptoms should be addressed using existing approaches to pain management.27 Supply lines for essential medications for distress and pain management, including fentanyl and midazolam are under threat in the USA and propofol—used in terminal sedation—may also be in short supply.29 The challenges are exacerbated when people who for various reasons eschew or are unable to secure hospital admission decline rapidly at home with COVID-19 (the time frame of recognition that someone is dying may be shorter than that through which hospice at home services usually support people).

There is growing debate about the fair allocation of novel drugs—sometimes available as part of ongoing clinical trials—to treat COVID-19 with curative intent.2 30 But we must also pay attention to the fair allocation of drugs needed to ease suffering and dying.Communication and end-of-life decision-making supportEnd-of-life planning can be especially challenging because patients, family members and healthcare providers often differ in what they consider most important near the end of life.31 Less than half of ICU physicians—40.6% in high income countries and 46.3% in low–middle income countries—feel comfortable holding end-of-life discussions with patients’ families.25 With ICUs bursting and health providers under extraordinary pressure, their capacity to effectively support end-of-life decisions and to ease dying will be reduced.This suggests a need for specialist COVID-19 communication support teams, analogous to the idea of specialist ICU triage teams to ensure consistency of decision making about ICU admissions/discharges, and to reduce the moral and psychological distress of health providers during the pandemic.32 These support teams could provide up to date information templates for patients and families, support decision-making, the development of advance care plans (ACPs) and act as a liaison between families (prevented from being in the hospital), the patient and the clinical team. Some people with disabilities may require additional communication support to ensure the patients’ needs are communicated to all health providers.33 This will be especially important if carers and visitors are not able to be present.To provide effective and appropriate support in an equitable way, communication teams will need to include those with the appropriate skills for caring for diverse populations including. Interpreters, specialist social workers, disability advocates and cultural support liaison officers for ethnic and religious minorities. Patient groups that already have comparatively poor health outcomes require dedicated resources. These support resources are essential if we wish to truly mitigate equity concerns that arisingduring the pandemic context.

See Box 1 for examples of specific communication and care strategies to support patients.Box 1 Supporting communication and compassionate care during COVID-19Despite the sometimes overwhelming pressure of the pandemic, health providers continue to invest in communication, compassionate care and end-of-life support. In some places, doctors have taken photos of their faces and taped these to the front of their PPE so that patients can ‘see’ their face.37 In Singapore, patients who test positive for SARS-CoV-2 are quarantined in health facilities until they receive two consecutive negative tests. Patients may be isolated in hospital for several weeks. To help ease this burden on patients, health providers have dubbed themselves the ‘second family’ and gone out of their way to provide care as well as treatment. Elsewhere, medical, nursing and multi-disciplinary teams are utilising internet based devices to enable ‘virtual’ visits and contact between patients and their loved ones.38 Some centres are providing staff with masks with a see-through window panel that shows the wearer’s mouth, to support effective communication with patient with hearing loss who rely on lip reading.39Advance care planningACPs aim to honour decisions made by autonomous patients if and when they lose capacity.

However, talking to patients and their loved ones about clinical prognosis, ceilings of treatment and potential end-of-life care is challenging even in normal times. During COVID-19 the challenges are exacerbated by uncertainty and urgency, the absence of family support (due to visitor restrictions) and the wearing of PPE by clinicians and carers. Protective equipment can create a formidable barrier between the patient and the provider, often adding to the patient’s sense of isolation and fear. An Australian palliative care researcher with experience working in disaster zones, argues that the “PPE may disguise countenance, restrict normal human touch and create an unfamiliar gulf between you and your patient.”34 The physical and psychological barriers of PPE coupled with the pressure of high clinical loads do not seem conducive to compassionate discussions about patients’ end-of-life preferences. Indeed, a study in Singapore during the 2004 SARS epidemic demonstrated the barrier posed by PPE to compassionate end-of-life care.35Clinicians may struggle to interpret existing ACPs in the context of COVID-19, given the unprecedented nature and scale of the pandemic and emerging clinical knowledge about the aetiology of the disease and (perhaps especially) about prognosis.

This suggests the need for COVID-19-specific ACPs. Where possible, proactive planning should occur with high-risk patients, the frail, those in residential care and those with significant underlying morbidities. Ideally, ACP conversations should take place prior to illness, involve known health providers and carers, not be hampered by PPE or subject to time constraints imposed by acute care contexts. Of note here, a systematic review found that patients who received advance care planning or palliative care interventions consistently showed a pattern toward decreased ICU admissions and reduced ICU length of stay.36ConclusionHow best to address equity concerns in relation to ICU and end-of-life care for patients with COVID-19 is challenging and complex. Attempts to broaden clinical criteria to give patients with poorer prognoses access to ICU on equity grounds may result in fewer lives saved overall—this may well be justified if access to ICU confers benefit to these ‘equity’ patients.

But we must avoid tokenistic gestures to equity—admitting patients with poor prognostic indicators to ICU to meet an equity target when intensive critical care is contrary to their best interests. ICU admission may exacerbate and prolong suffering rather than ameliorate it, especially for frailer patients. And prolonging life at all costs may ultimately lead to a worse death. The capacity for harm not just the capacity for benefit should be emphasised in any triage tools and related literature. Equity can be addressed more robustly if pandemic responses scale up investment in palliative care services, communication and decision-support services and advanced care planning to meet the needs of all patients with COVID-19.

Ultimately, however, equity considerations will require us to move even further from a critical care framework as the social and economic impact of the pandemic will disproportionately impact those most vulnerable. Globally, we will need an approach that does not just stop an exponential rise in infections but an exponential rise in inequality.AcknowledgmentsWe would like to thank Tracy Anne Dunbrook and David Tripp for their helpful comments, and NUS Medicine for permission to reproduce the COVID-19 Chronicles strip..

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