Tuesday March 31st, 2020

Good afternoon,

We are making a practice change regarding the use of masks.  In order to increase the safety of our staff we are asking that all patient care staff wear a mask when providing any direct patient care.  We are very blessed our PPE situation has improved and we have increased our supply as much as possible.  As we continue to learn about the virus and respond to supply chain disruptions we will respond appropriately to ensure safe care for all our patients and staff.

  1. Home Care Staff:
    1. You must wear a mask any time you are in a patient home or any other setting you are interacting with a patient or their family/caregivers. 
    1. Your mask should be reused until the mask become damaged or soiled. 
    1. Be sure to put your mask (cloth or disposable) on and take them off with clean hands (either washing your hands or using hand sanitizer).
    1. You must stop by your office to pick up your masks.  Please contact your supervisor if you are in need of masks and we will deliver to your vehicle.
    1. Additionally, we are asking you to mask any patient showing symptoms of COVID-19.
    1. A patient mask should be left at the home with the patient and reused for any future visits.
  2. Inpatient Facility
    1. You must wear your mask anytime you are with a patient or family member
    1. Your mask should be reused until the mask become damaged or soiled. 
    1. You are not required to wear them when you are not with patients/family.
    1. Be sure to put your mask (cloth or disposable) on and take them off with clean hands (either washing your hands or using hand sanitizer).
  • COVID 19 patients or awaiting test results: this mask practice is for use with all patients except COVID 19 positive patients or patients awaiting test results.  You will be provided with different supplies to further assure your safety when working with these individuals.

We need to continue to do screening prior to every patient visit for all individuals in the home and for everyone entering the inpatient facility.  This will help us identify when more PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) is needed or any visitors who need to be denied entrance.

IPU Visitor Policy

Based on feedback from our staff we have adjusted the IPU visitor policy:

  1. Visitors will be limited to 2 (two) family members or significant others per patient each 12 hour shift (7a-7p and 7p-7a) – Visitors may NOT switch out during the shift.  If another family member would like to visit, they may do so on the next shift or the next day.  If the patient has no family, then a caregiver, friend or pastor…etc. may visit.
  2. All other previous visitor limitations still apply.

Again, myself, and our entire management team ask for your patience and understanding during these uncertain times.  There is no “playbook” for these black swan events; I would encourage each of you to read this recent article in the New Yorker by Dr. Atul Gawande regarding some initial COVID-19 observations (https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/keeping-the-coronavirus-from-infecting-health-care-workers).    Please continue to practice safe social distancing and proper hand hygiene at all of our facilities as well as in your personal life.  For many of us, scared is what we are feeling, but brave is what we are doing, the best way we can and know how.  I appreciate each and every one of you and the brave commitment you continue to show to our patients and their families as healthcare professionals.

Thank you all and best wishes,

Chris

Tuesday March 24th, 2020

Good afternoon. We continue to evaluate the implications of COVID-19 to our business operations and care delivery systems.  As part of this continued review we are listening and receiving feedback from our staff as well as reviewing best practices and protocols of other healthcare institutions.  It has been stated in previous communications and throughout media coverage that this situation is dynamic and previous decisions may be reversed or expounded upon based on this ever-changing landscape.  

As of 8am, Wednesday, March 24th 2020, we will be instituting the following visitor policy for our inpatient facilities:

  1. Patients will only be allowed one visitor, per patient, per day.
  2. We are restricting visitors under the age of 18.  Exceptions will be evaluated on a case by case basis.

We will continue to follow all other previously mentioned visitor guidelines. 

Also, we will be restricting and closing communal visiting areas, such as the dinning and family rooms, in an effort to reduce the likelihood of COVID-19 being transmitted.  This will also allow our housekeeping staff to focus on deep cleaning high contact areas in our facilities.  I assure you this was a difficult decision to make and was not made lightly.  I am hopeful this restriction can be lifted in the near future, but at this time we believe this is in the best interest of our staff and patients.

Thank you and best wishes,

Chris

Monday, March 23, 2020

HospiceCare continues to accept patients while monitoring the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, and is responding to ensure the well-being of all of our patients, families, staff and volunteers while honoring government rules and recommendations at this time.  On Monday March 23rd, the Governor issued a stay at home order effective 8pm, March 24th.  At this time healthcare entities are excluded from this stay at home order, as are a number of different industries.  The care we provide through our hospice and palliative care programs are essential to the community and patients we serve.


Following today’s management meeting to address COVID-19 matters, we have updates to announce:

Staff:

  • All clinical staff will receive N95 respirators and surgical masks (face masks) to be used per CDC guidelines when working with “high risk” patients, or those who have: travelled out of state and have active symptoms; family members who have travelled in from out of state or have active symptoms; are awaiting test results for COVID-19.

For more information regarding CDC guidelines for use of N95 mface masks, please visit: https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/hcwcontrols/recommendedguidanceextuse.html

  • Continue to use CDC screening guidelines for all face-to-face patient and family related visits. Check with your supervisor regarding options (including phone calls, Facetime, etc.)  that can better help you care for your patients while also staying in compliance.

Volunteers:

New Staff Orientation:

  • We continue to orient new staff to HospiceCare.  Today, our new employees received all orientation materials from the HR department in the parking lot at the Main office, 1606 Kanawha Blvd. W, Charleston, WV 25387. We will continue this process until we begin to lift some of the social distancing considerations.  To schedule a pick-up, please contact Kendra at kprine@hospicecarewv.org.

Facilities:

  • In response to the ongoing and dynamic environment caused by COVID-19, we have decided to tighten our screening policies for ALL of our facilities.  In addition to all visitors being screened based on CDC guidelines, including a temperature check, we are requesting all staff have a temperature check at the beginning of their shift. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

HospiceCare continues to monitor the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and is responding to ensure the well-being of all of our patients, families, volunteers and staff while honoring government rules and recommendations.

Following today’s management meeting to address COVID-19 matters, we have updates to announce:

Interdisciplinary Team:

  • Effective immediately all IDTs will be conducted remotely using a conference line.  Your supervisor will provide call-in information prior to the specific IDT.

Bereavement:

  • All grief and loss support groups have been cancelled as most are in excess of the 10 person group limitation suggested by the CDC. 
    • Individual counseling sessions will replace support groups for the time being to increase our social distancing.

Volunteers:

  • Effective March 18th, 2020 we will be suspending all volunteer activities for a period of two weeks. 
    • Last week we chose to suspend all volunteer clinical activities, however, out of an abundance of caution we are expanding this decision to include administrative activities as well.

Administrative offices:

  • At this time we are limiting visitors to our administrative offices and asking the aforementioned screening questions.
    • All administrative meetings with outside organizations have been suspended or moved electronically unless it is essential to the operations of HospiceCare.
    • We are prepared with additional restrictions and responses should the situation warrant.

Travel restrictions:

  • At this time we are strongly encouraging staff to cease all non-essential travel out of state.

Monday, March 16th 2020

HospiceCare has been closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic for several weeks.  As this situation continues to evolve we will continue to be the same compassionate and caring medical providers that we have always been.  The health and safety of our staff, patients and community are our highest priority and HospiceCare is committed to actively taking all necessary precautions to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 (coronavirus) including: 

  • Providing Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommended screening for all patients with HospiceCare and complying with recommendations from the CDC and local Health Department offices in our region to implement the latest guidelines for screening, isolation, and testing.
  • Strongly encouraging everyone to prepare for the next phase of this crisis, which will likely involve both community transmission and state/local government actions, such as school closures or movement restrictions. While the overall risk of transmission remains low, we recognize that the risk is increasing and recommend taking preventative measures to ensure safety.
  • Planning for the possibility of staff members being required to work from home/limiting traffic through the HospiceCare offices and facilities, thus decreasing the risk of transmission.
  • Working directly with other healthcare organizations as well as regional and national public health entities. We will continually reassess the situation and adjusting our strategy accordingly.

What kind of precautions should I be taking?

Beyond travel restrictions, the best preventative measures to take are the same as with the common cold or the flu:

  • Wash your hands frequently (after traveling on public transportation, before and after eating…).
  • Cough/sneeze into your elbow, not your hand.
  • Arrange with your manager to work from home or take sick time as appropriate, if you have symptoms.

See more: CDC Prevention Guidelines (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/prevention.html)

Specific information regarding program responses is listed below:

In-Home Hospice Program:

  • We are asking staff to perform a COVID-19 screening on all home patients based on CDC guidelines:
    • International travel within the last 14 days to countries with sustained community transmission.
    • Signs or symptoms of a respiratory infection, such as a fever, cough, and sore throat.
    • In the last 14 days, has had contact with someone with or under investigation for COVID19, or are ill with respiratory illness.
    • Had contact with someone residing in a community where community-based spread of COVID-19 is occurring.
  • Screenings will determine staff’s need to take temperatures and donning of personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • For more information, please contact your case manager or call:
    • HospiceCare Main Office at (304) 768-8523 or (800) 560-8523
    • HospiceCare Greenbrier Valley Division, Lewisburg at (304) 645-2700

Inpatient Hospice Facilities:
Hubbard Hospice House, Hubbard Hospice House West, and Peyton Hospice House

While patient-care and patient and family satisfaction are a primary concern, we believe it is appropriate to limit visitors to our inpatient facilities at this time.  Those limitations are listed below and subject to change.

  • We are asking all visitors to call ahead before arriving at a hospice house.
  • No visitors under the age of 13 unless approved on a case by case basis by administration.
  • All visitors will be screened using CDC recommendations including asking if an individual has traveled out of the country or to an infected area and if he/she had flu like symptoms.
  • All visitors will be subject to a temperature check upon entrance to the building.
  • We are asking visitors to limit themselves to immediate family, however, we are aware the closest family a patient has may not be a blood relative.
  • For more information, please contact the in-patient facility directly:
    • Hubbard Hospice House, (304) 926-2200
    • Hubbard Hospice House West, (304) 414-5170
    • Peyton Hospice House, (304) 645-2700

Long-term Care Facilities and Nursing Homes:

  • HospiceCare is following the protocols prescribed by each facility where our patients reside; currently most nursing homes are only allowing RNs access.
  • For more information, please contact our Long-term Care Team at:
    • HospiceCare Main Office at (304) 768-8523 or (800) 560-8523
    • HospiceCare Greenbrier Valley Division, Lewisburg at (304) 645-2700

Bereavement

  • Contact staff in our Wallace Grief Support Center at (304) 768-8523 or (800) 560-8523 for information about support groups and individual grief counseling.

Volunteers

  • We will be prohibiting all volunteers from providing direct patient care/interaction for the time being. Volunteers will only be allowed at our Main Office to perform administrative tasks.
  • For more information, please contact our Volunteer Department at (304) 768-8523.


Our management team will continue to monitor the COVID-19 outbreak and make necessary decisions to protect the well-being of our patients, families, volunteers, and colleagues. 

For more information on how to respond to COVID-19, please visit:

WVDHHR – WV Department of Health & Human Resources
https://dhhr.wv.gov/COVID-19/Pages/default.aspx

NHPCO – National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization
https://www.nhpco.org/coronavirus

CMS – Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

https://www.cms.gov/files/document/qso-20-16-hospice.pdf