What You Need to Know About Hospices and COVID-19
Is my loved one safe?
Can I still visit someone in hospice care?
COVID-19 has changed the world forever. Even when the peak of the illness has passed, few things will ever go back to “normal.”
You may have had several questions like the ones listed above. This time is even more challenging when you or someone you love are facing a terminal illness.
Hospices across the country have faced this challenging time head-on. They are keeping the safety of their patients and caregivers as the highest priority.
We’ve tackled some of the concerns you may have about how hospices are operating during COVID-19. However, because some policies may be different from region to region, we can help you get connected with your local hospice provider near you or your loved one.
Hospices Take All Precautions. All the Time.
It’s not unusual for hospice teams to work with patients who have compromised immune systems. Other patients may be frail and highly susceptible to diseases like the flu.
That’s why hospice workers always take precautions such as washing hands and wearing personal protective equipment. This has always been a part of business as usual.
The COVID-19 outbreak has caused hospices to be even more diligent in regards to patient safety and compassionate care. They are also very cautious when it comes to going from one house to another. Many may screen members of the patient’s family to be sure that everyone involved is healthy.
What If Someone in the Home Has Symptoms?
If you are a hospice patient or a family member of a patient and someone in your household has COVID-19 symptoms, please contact your case manager. He or she will be able to assess the situation and provide instructions on how to stay safe.
It’s important to follow these instructions, not only for your benefit but to help keep other patients safe.
Can Hospice Screen for COVID-19?
Hospice workers follow the guidelines set forth by state and federal requirements about who is and who is not eligible for screening.
Test availability and how COVID-19 can affect the hospice care plan is decided upon a case-by-case basis.
Are Hospice Homes or Hospice Houses Open?
Again, this will depend upon the requirements of your region or state.
You may find your local hospice offices or hospice houses have implemented precautions such as:
- Limiting the number of visitors
- Reducing visitors or visitation hours
- Requiring all visitors to wear a facemask or cloth
- Screening all visitors before they enter
- Closing common areas or places where visitors congregate
In addition, all CDC guidelines concerning social distancing must be strictly followed.
Hospice providers are always informed about the latest COVID-19 developments and take their cues from the CDC and your local state government.
How Has This Affected Other Hospice Programs?
As a result of COVID-19, most support groups or community educational seminars have been canceled. Most hospices have a website that you can visit to see when these are rescheduled. However, this obviously depends upon the course of the coronavirus and state and federal restrictions.
Looking for a Way to Help? Consider Donating PPE
PPE—personal protective equipment—includes gloves, facemasks and medical gowns. These are very valuable to hospice workers. Many local hospices could benefit from your donation.
However, be aware that the PPE needed must meet certain requirements. Your local hospice will be able to provide the information.
We encourage you to contact the hospice closest to you to discover their individual needs.
COVID-19 Is an Evolving Situation
The coronavirus issue changes every day. As researchers learn more about this virus and how it spreads, hospices will continue to adjust their policies accordingly.
If you want to learn more about the number of COVID-19 cases in your community, we suggest visiting the website for your state health department or department of human services. This site will also have important information on the latest regulations and restrictions.
Hospice Wise: Real Answers About Hospice
Sadly, there are many misconceptions about hospice that keep those in need from getting the help they need. As a result, they needlessly suffer for much longer. In fact, one of the things we hear most often is “I wish I had contacted hospice sooner.”
Want to learn the truth about hospice? Take a minute to look at some of the frequently asked questions about hospice and answers on this website.
Don’t let a misunderstanding come in the way of quality, compassionate help during a time of need.