Our Response to COVID-19

Heart of Hospice always prioritizes the safety of our patients and their loved ones as well as our employees and their families. Read below to learn about the different ways we have stepped up to serve during COVID-19.

We knew we could help.

Heart of Hospice has been caring for Louisiana since 2007 and when New Orleans emerged as a COVID-19 hotspot, we knew immediately we would not only care for hospice-eligible COVID-19 positive patients or patients who were Persons Under Investigation (PUIs), but that we would also do anything we could to meet the needs of our community and healthcare partners.

We saw an opportunity to serve and alleviated the stretch on resources by opening a temporary hospice inpatient unit (IPU) for COVID-19 positive patients within East Jefferson Hospital inside the former Bridgepoint LTAC.

The pop-up unit was established in eight days as a temporary unit dedicated to serving hospice-eligible, COVID-19 positive patients and PUIs. Our unit was highlighted by a myriad of national and regional media outlets. CMS also recognizes us as industry experts and asked CEO Carla Davis and CMO Dr. Sonali Wilborn to speak as guests and provide guidance on the role of hospice in home and inpatient settings during COVID-19. To date, Heart of Hospice has served over 780 COVID-19 positive patients in Louisiana and approximately 7% of the deaths in the state.

Heart of Hospice knows, however, that though COVID-19 is still impacting our community, a need for a hospice IPU will exist far beyond the COVID-19 crisis. The Heart of Hospice IPU is now one of only two hospice IPUs serving the greater New Orleans area. We applied for permanent licensure and have been approved by the state to transition our pop-up unit into a permanent unit.

We currently serve both COVID-19 positive and negative patients, providing each a private room where they receive care from an interdisciplinary care team and are able to enjoy in-person visits from their loved ones who are equipped with full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). We also care for COVID-19 negative, hospice-eligible patients who require a more advanced level of pain and symptom management than is possible in the home.

Our Safety Solutions

Heart of Hospice understands the vital role hospice providers can play in the fight against COVID-19, but knows that we first need to protect our teams so they can continue safely caring for our most vulnerable populations. To accomplish this, we:

Aggressively acquired and distributed personal protective equipment (PPE) to our staff and trained them to correctly don and doff

Screen all staff daily

Implemented televisits for non-critical visits and to supplement care

Provide PPE to any patients' loved ones who wish to visit with COVID-19 positive patients so that they would not have to suffer in isolation

Conceptualized and opened a pop-up hospice IPU to serve COVID-19 positive patients

Secured up to weekly testing for our employees to ensure they can continue safely caring for patients who reside in Nursing Homes or Assisted Living Facilities

Press Coverage and CMS Recognition

Our industry-leading response to COVID-19 has earned us local, regional, and national press coverage as well as guest appearances on multiple CMS broadcasts. Below are our COVID-19 news articles.

Carla Davis, Home Health and Hospice

August 3, 2020

Carla Davis guest speaks on a CMS webinar about navigating home health and hospice during COVID-19.

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Heart of Hospice Temporary COVID-19 Inpatient Unit Made Permanent

August 3, 2020

The State of Louisiana will allow New Orleans-based Heart of Hospice to transition its temporary inpatient unit devoted to serving COVID-19 patients into a permanent facility available to patients with any terminal diagnosis. To date, Heart of Hospice has served approximately 7% of the COVID-19 related deaths in Louisiana. ‍

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Heart of Hospice’s Carla Davis: Rise to the COVID-19 Challenge

August 3, 2020

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Heart of Hospice partners with East Jefferson Hospital and BridgePoint Continuing Care Hospital to open hospice inpatient unit for patients with COVID-19

August 3, 2020

As COVID-19 continues to test our nations' healthcare infrastructure, providers and facilities are pushing their agility and creativity. Heart of Hospice, the largest hospice in Louisiana, is working to help bridge the gap in the greater New Orleans area between need and capacity by partnering with East Jefferson Hospital and BridgePoint Continuing Care Hospital to open a temporary, Inpatient Unit (IPU) for hospice-eligible, COVID-19 positive patients and Persons Under Investigation (PUIs) who might be COVID-19 positive, but have not yet received confirmation.‍

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Children of employees of Heart of Hospice - Acadiana, Louisiana write letters to residents in nursing homes and assisted living facilities to help mitigate impact of social isolation during COVID-19 outbreak

August 3, 2020

Employees of Heart of Hospice - Acadiana Louisiana announce a letter writing campaign to help mitigate the effects of social isolation on the elderly population located in nursing homes and assisted living. Employees are collecting letters and pictures from local children to bring a little joy to residences. ‍

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East Jefferson Hospital opens inpatient hospice unit where loved ones can visit

August 3, 2020

Heart of Hospice - New Orleans, Louisiana opens a temporary inpatient unit for COVID-19. From idea materialization to full operations in just eight days, the unit is the first pop-up unit in the United States and is dedicated to serving COVID-19 positive patients. The unit allows visitors and provides them with full PPE.

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Amid coronavirus, hospice connects out-of-school kids with elderly residents in letter writing campaign

August 3, 2020

Heart of Hospice - Acadiana Louisiana starts a letter writing campaign to bring residents joy during COVID-19 pandemic.

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The vital role of hospice in weathering the COVID-19 storm

August 3, 2020

The COVID-19 crisis is sweeping the nation as businesses close, governments enact shelter-in-place orders, and hospitals begin preparing for the influx of patients. Amidst the chaos, some hospices are still serving eligible patients, working to keep them where they are safest – home.

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Heart of Hospice welcomes new Chief Medical Officer, Sonali Wilborn, MD, MBA, HMDC

August 3, 2020

Heart of Hospice announces the hire of Chief Medical Officer, Sonali Wilborn, MD, MBA, HMDC. Dr. Wilborn received her MBBS in 1995 from Kasturba Medical College in India and Doctor of Medicine in 1998. In 2014, she graduated with an Executive MBA from the University of Michigan's Ross Business School.

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Hospices Respond to Influx of COVID Patients, Keep Families Connected

August 3, 2020

Carla Davis, Chief Executive Office for Heart of Hospice and Care at Heart, shares how Heart of Hospice has adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic with Hospice News. ‍‍

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Hospice Care Continues — Without the Human Touch

August 3, 2020

Michael Ollove, writer for Stateline, covers an in-depth story on hospice care during the pandemic. He speaks with Melissa Moody, a nurse with Heart of Hospice, who runs the New Orleans pop-up hospice unit for COVID-19 patients that opened in the New Orleans area in April.

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Social Isolation a Threat to Hospice Patients During COVID-19

August 3, 2020

Carla Davis speaks with Hospice News about the impact of social isolation on hospice patients. This article briefly discusses challenges and adaptations made by hospice providers.

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Hospices Tackle Telehealth Challenges During COVID-19

August 3, 2020

Holly Vossel with Hospice News speaks with Carla Davis, Chief Executive Officer for Heart of Hospice, on telehealth utilization among hospice providers during COVID-19.

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