Hospice is an essential part of the end of life services. Offering comfort, touch, and getting rid of the feeling of being alone. All these wonderful things directly go against the recommendations that health experts have been giving during the Coronavirus. Despite that, it’s still an essential branch of medicine. Here’s how hospice is working during the Coronavirus.
How Hospice is Working During the Coronavirus
Million of Americans were on hospice care before the Coronavirus was a problem. The way that hospice usually works is that someone helps visitors come around a declining loved one and focusing on the comfort of the patient. It’s in the form of pain management, comfort, and peace. It balances the physical and emotional needs of everyone.
Many hospice nurses are struggling because hospice treatment has to change, and it goes against the philosophy of hospice. Wearing gloves and masks, while keeping them safe, creates a barrier between them and the patient. That barrier is blocking the intimacy that people need when they or their loved ones are in their last days.
That’s if they are even visiting the patient in person. A lot of visits are by phone.
Workforce Stretching Too Wide
Any healthcare workforce is being strained with the arrival of the Coronavirus. While the focus tends to be on having enough hospital beds, hospice is asking who will care for those who are seriously ill once they either leave or hospitals get full.
Because of the limited amount of beds, many ill people are being discharged to their community or homes and still need care.
“We all think there’s this massive workforce of nurses and social workers to provide care, but the reality is there isn’t. There’s the hospice workforce, and there’s the home-health workforce, and that’s who is around. This is really going to strain serious illness and hospice resources out in the community.”– Edo Banach, president and CEO of National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization
Between the workforce strain and the virus, many hospices are focusing more on pain management to keep workers safe. The focus is on symptom relief and pain minimization in isolation. This is frustrating for everyone.
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