One main concern of hospice care is maintaining patient health and safety. This is especially true as we battle the recent COVID-19 pandemic. Recently, hospice care providers have had to alter the way they care for patients. There are several ways in which hospice care workers can help patients stay safe and comfortable during this challenging time, including educating patients and their families about how to reduce their exposure, limiting the number of patient visits, and using more PPE during interactions, among other practices.
Seniors Are More Vulnerable
Certain groups are more at risk of experiencing serious symptoms or death from COVID-19. Notably, those aged 55 and older are especially vulnerable. This means it is important for seniors to do everything possible to avoid getting COVID-19. Family members, friends, healthcare workers, and others who spend time with seniors should also take precautionary measures to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19.
While many understand the dangers COVID-19 poses to senior citizens, it is even worse for senior citizens who are in hospice care. As more data becomes available, we are beginning to realize just how vulnerable those who have underlying health conditions — such as those in need of palliative or hospice care — are.
The most effective way to reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19 is to limit exposure to others who may have it or have recently had it. Unfortunately, this most often includes family members. While it is undoubtedly hard to be away from family and friends, there are effective ways to stay in communication, such as through telecommunication applications like Skype.
Many hospice patients will also see their primary care physician and hospice workers less often as well. Instead, advancements in telehealth have made it possible for hospice care teams to transition to a digital approach. This allows them to keep patients healthy and safe.
Hospice care nurses and other staff members can evaluate symptoms, offer counseling and therapy, and much more without being physically present. Of course, when a physical visit with a hospice worker or family member is necessary, it can still be arranged.
Making Patients Comfortable
Perhaps the main goal of hospice care is to improve the quality of life for patients by helping them to feel more comfortable. Part of keeping patients more comfortable is helping them stay protected from COVID-19 and the symptoms that come with it.
In addition to the physical symptoms, hospice care teams also assist patients with mental health complications they may experience. During the pandemic, as patients have to remain isolated, hospice care team members can help the patient stay in communication with loved ones in a safe manner. Hospice care teams also find unique and clever ways to help patients with activities of daily living (ADLs) while still minimizing in-person interactions as much as possible.
Staff Using PPE
Hospice care staff understand how important increased safety measures are during the COVID-19 pandemic. One way hospice workers keep their patients as safe as possible is by wearing personal protective equipment (PPE). This includes facemasks, gloves, and long-sleeves. Some may also wear additional PPE if they are more physically involved in helping the patient.
Hospice workers also do all they can to minimize the risk of exposing patients when they are not with the patient. They take additional steps to reduce their risk of COVID-19 by limiting the number of people they come into contact with and wearing PPE any time they leave their home. This gives the hospice worker, as well as patients, peace of mind during any necessary in-person interactions.
Send a Message to Your Loved One
As mentioned, hospice care is about improving the quality of life. Hospice care teams understand that eliminating interactions between the patient and their loved ones makes it hard to enjoy life. Rather, hospice workers encourage patients and their loved ones to send messages to one another and utilize other alternatives to in-person visits during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Hospice care teams can help educate hospice patients who may not understand how to use certain technology such as cell phones, laptops, and tablets. They may also help patients set up telecommunication applications, cell phone numbers, and other methods of digital communication to ensure they can keep in touch with their loved ones while in-person visits are not an option.
Contact Harbor Light Hospice for More Information
Find out more about hospice care and how our hospice care team works hard to ensure the safety and comfort of all patients and their families during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can reach out to us at any time, and we respond to all who are interested in a timely manner.
At Harbor Light Hospice, we take pride in helping our hospice patients enjoy life and remain comfortable, despite the challenges COVID-19 poses. We value safety, and we work hard to ensure your safety and comfort needs are met in a convenient way.