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

August 3, 2020

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

NEW ORLEANS, La., March 25, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- 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.

Carla Davis, Chief Executive Officer for Heart of Hospice, the largest hospice in Louisiana, believes hospices across the nation can be critical contributors in the COVID-19 fight. Louisiana currently has the third highest rate of confirmed COVID-19 cases per capita.

Davis shares: "Hospice is uniquely positioned within the healthcare industry, designed to serve acutely ill individuals at home. We can keep our nation's most vulnerable patients out of the hospital where they might be exposed to COVID-19."

She believes it is crucial for hospices to partner with local hospitals to get eligible patients out of their beds and at home safely.

Davis adds: "By working with hospitals, are bringing vulnerable, hospice-eligible patients home. Together, we will protect patient safety by minimizing contact and decreasing the likelihood of community spread. We will also enable our physicians, nurses, and certified nursing assistants to focus on the needs of COVID-19. The battle against COVID-19 will be led by our healthcare workers, but the impact will be felt by the elderly and individuals with preexisting conditions. The hospice industry must come together to support our communities and partners during this crisis."

Heart of Hospice has implemented many processes to support the safety of its staff, partners, and patients throughout the outbreak. These processes include: daily patient and staff screenings, education on proper PPE utilization, implementation of a televisit option for patients and facilities, and initiation of a grocery shopping program for patients.

Dr. Sonali Wilborn, Chief Medical Officer for Heart of Hospice, illuminates how providers can get creative in their care delivery, including Advance Care Planning. "We want to ensure all patients and families feel supported in this changing care environment. Providers can offer televisits and frequent, telephonic check-ins to manage symptoms, show support, demonstrate availability, and help with advance care planning. If patients and families feel safe and cared for at home, they are less likely to return to the hospital."  

About Heart of Hospice
Our vision is to transform end-of-life care in the communities we serve. We provide care to 19 regions across Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and South Carolina. We believe all hospice-eligible patients and those who love them deserve the best care at the end of life. Our mission is simple: to serve all patients and their loved ones the way they desire to be served.

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