COVID-19 has made it more challenging for hospice care providers to assist their patients in a regular manner. Due to the risks the novel coronavirus poses, limiting potential exposure to the virus is essential, especially considering that most of those who are in need of hospice care are among the most vulnerable to having a severe, even deadly, response to the virus.
There are many ways in which hospice care providers are improving the overall safety in hospice care during COVID-19. In general, there are several main goals, which include reducing the amount of exposure to individuals who may have the virus and ensuring those who come into contact with the patient are properly protected.
The ultimate goal is to ensure all of those who are in hospice care are able to receive the care they need without exposing them to increased risk of COVID-19. The following is a complete overview of how hospice care providers are improving safety for patients during the coronavirus outbreak.
Steps to Improve Safety
Hospice care centers are taking steps to reduce the risk of their patients getting COVID-19. Among the most common steps being taken to improve the safety of hospice patients and hospice workers include reducing the number of visitors, wearing more personal protective equipment (PPE) and using telehealth as much as possible.
Every care plan will look different for each patient, and hospice care teams can work closely with patients to ensure the plan they feel most comfortable with is put into place. Of course, hospice care providers will continue to provide all essential services that are important for the patient’s overall well-being, and they can use effective alternative strategies to minimize risk in areas where an in-person visit may not be necessary.
Reduce Number of People Visiting
One of the main ways hospice care providers are reducing the risk of patients getting COVID-19 is by reducing the amount of exposure they have to others. While it may be inconvenient for patients to alter their care plan, the hospice care team can work closely with the patient to find a way to offer the high-quality care necessary to assist the patient each day, while also ensuring they are able to live out the end of life without worrying about an increased risk of COVID-19.
Of course, there are certain services that are necessary, such as physical therapy, administering medication through an IV and running certain diagnostic tests. Many other services are now being offered through telehealth. This involves meetings with hospice care workers to assist the patient. Many hospice care teams are utilizing remote telehealth services to manage the symptoms of the patient, offer therapy and counseling and more.
Wear Protective Gear
Although keeping a distance is the best way to stay safe from COVID-19, the fact is many in hospice care cannot do everything through telehealth and require assistance from hospice doctors, nurses and other professionals. Protective gear is also very important. Hospice care providers are taking extra caution in the way they help patients.
Due to COVID-19, hospice care nurses, aides, doctors and all other hospice care professionals are wearing more PPE than usual, including masks, gloves, and protective clothing. This not only reduces the workers’ risk, but it significantly reduces the chance of patients getting the virus as well. Hospice care workers can also instruct patients on how to wear protective gear as to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19.
Use Telehealth Whenever Possible
Telehealth refers to healthcare that is performed remotely. It typically utilizes telecommunication applications such as Zoom or Skype. Many hospice care providers are switching to telehealth to communicate with patients. This allows the hospice care workers who assist the patient regularly to stay in constant communication, manage symptoms and ensure there are no immediate concerns that require prompt treatment.
Although telehealth is not always a viable solution for hospice care patients, there are typically certain areas of the care plan that can be switched to being conducted through telehealth in an effort to minimize the patient’s exposure to others, thus reducing the risk of getting COVID-19.
Work With Harbor Light Hospice
If you are interested in learning more about how hospice care teams are keeping themselves as well as patients safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, then reach out to our team today. Here at Harbor Light Hospice, we offer hospice care for patients with a terminal illness. Our goal is to improve the quality of life for our patients and ensure they are comfortable as possible as they approach the end of life.
We also assist families and caregivers, providing them with the emotional and physical relief as they do all they can to help the one they love. You can reach our team by phone today, and we will be happy to answer your questions and provide you with more information about how our team works hard to keep all patients safe during COVID-19.