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Jun 18, 2020

Despite being in the field over 15 years, I've never felt so far outside my comfort zone as as palliative care provider as I have felt in the last four months. A worldwide pandemic of a novel virus had me questioning how I communicate prognostic information when uncertainty was one of the few things I was certain about. It also pushed me to have these conversations via telemedicine, something I was previously more than happy to leave as a tool for only outpatient providers. The pandemic and the murder of George Floyd brought to the forefront the systemic racism that permeates our society and my own inadequacies in discussing the trauma that these killings and mistreatment have on black Americans. We grow though when we are pushed outside of our comfort zones. I'm pretty sure Tony Back, the co-founder of VitalTalk, would probably say that I have found my "learning edge". Lucky for me, we have Tony, along with another VitalTalk guru, Wendy Anderson, on today's GeriPal Podcast, to give some tips on how to approach communication skills in a time of crises. I'd like to highlight some of the exceptional Vitaltalk resources that we talked about on the podcast that can help to improve our communication skills, including (note: links to the following resources can be found on - Vital Talk COVID resources - A graphical version of the VitalTalk COVID playbook by Tony and Nathan Gray published in BMJ - Communication Skills in the Age of COVID-19 paper in Annals of Internal Medicine and the video commentary - Vital Talk's Communication skills for bridging inequity - Decompress, the podcast (Apple podcast link here) I'd also like to mention one other great resource that I came across by Drs. Marva Robinson and - Keisha Ross from the St. Louis VA, and Dr. Maurice Endsley from the Hines VA: - Discussing Community Trauma in Response to Killings and Mistreatment ofBlack and Brown Americans by: Eric Widera