The pandemic has shifted the hospice care approach for many centers. Although the pandemic has created more challenges in many areas, the quality of hospice care remains as strong as ever. This review discusses how the pandemic has shifted hospice care and, in some ways, improved the overall care and support that patients receive.
5 Ways The Pandemic Has Shifted The Approach of Hospice Care
The pandemic has shifted, and in many ways improved, the hospice care industry in various ways. Notably, hospice care centers are taking more precautions to reduce the level of exposure for their patients, leveraging the power of telecommunication, reducing the risk of transmission by wearing PPE and incorporating regular testing, and prioritizing communication with their patients.
Reducing The Level of Exposure for Patients
The pandemic is not yet behind us entirely, and although the vaccine has helped reduce the risk for individuals with an advanced illness, they are still the most susceptible to serious illness or death from coronavirus. The ongoing threat of coronavirus has led hospice care centers to accommodate their patients as much as possible to reduce their level of exposure.
One way this is accomplished is by making it possible to communicate with others virtually. While those in hospice care are still able to see their loved ones in person, other communications, such as meetings with a chaplain, can be done virtually.
In addition, hospice care centers may assign fewer workers to certain patients. This allows the patient to develop more of a rapport with nurses and doctors rather than having dozens of people assist with their hospice care plan.
Leveraging The Power of Video Conferencing and Telecommunication
Many hospice patients are surprised by the power of teleconferencing and telecommunication. Video conferencing refers to arranged meetings between the hospice patient and one or more other members of the hospice care teams.
This may include but not be limited to doctors, nurses, chaplains, financial planners, lawyers, and more. Some hospice care patients prefer to meet with their closest relatives and friends in person with the right safety measures in place, but when meeting with members of the medical or counseling team or when making arrangements with lawyers or accountants, it is often preferable to do so via telecommunication.
Taking Additional Precautions to Reduce The Risk of Transmission
Hospice care workers are screened more than they were in the past. In addition to receiving coronavirus vaccinations, they may be tested more regularly and asked not to come into work if they or their family members have any symptoms of an illness.
Of course, hospice care workers are also wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) much more now than they were prior to the coronavirus pandemic. Once again, the power of telecommunication has made this more of a possibility as they can assist patients virtually in many cases as well.
Viewing The Reality of Living With an Advanced Illness in a Different Light
The way we view advanced illnesses in hospice care has shifted as well in the past two years. While respecting the patient’s right to seek life-saving treatment and encouraging them to do so whenever possible, the reality is living with a terminal illness often means there are no life-saving treatments.
Although it can be difficult, acknowledging this inevitability is important, and more hospice care providers are shifting their focus to the overall well-being of the patient. This has allowed hospice patients to spend their time appreciating what is important to them, rather than being encouraged to fight their hardest in an unwinnable fight.
Respecting The Wishes of The Patient While Protecting Them
To expand upon the previous way in which hospice care has shifted its focus during the pandemic, hospice care providers are respecting the wishes of the patient more than they ever have before, while also taking every precaution possible to keep them safe and as healthy as possible.
This often means spending more time with family and friends and cherishing each moment, rather than spending their time focused on finding life-saving treatments. The fact is hospice care is often a difficult experience for family members, friends, and especially for patients — and even more so during a pandemic.
Hospice care centers continue to try and find the perfect balance between keeping patients safe from coronavirus while also allowing them the freedom to spend their time doing the things that bring them the most joy in life, which often includes spending time with their loved ones.
Harbor Light Hospice Offers Hospice Care for Individuals With an Advanced Illness
Harbor Light Hospice works hard to ensure the health and safety of all of our patients, while still providing them the ability to get the care they need, meet with their loved ones in person, and live a happy life despite their diagnosis of an advanced illness. To learn more about Harbor Light Hospice care, contact us today.