A Message for HCP Patients and Caregivers Regarding COVID-19

March 17, 2020 | Share:

A Message for HCP Patients and Caregivers Regarding COVID-19

It is the priority of Hospice of Central PA (HCP) to safeguard the health and well-being of our patients, caregivers, visitors, and our staff, at all times.

We have been monitoring the CDC website for updated information and resources and are in regular contact with our local health department. HCP is prepared to take appropriate action to address potential COVID-19 cases and mitigate transmission including screening, treatment, and transfer to higher level care (when appropriate).

At HCP we have taken proactive steps to help prevent transmission of infection which include, but are not limited to:

1. One of our biggest vulnerabilities is the proximity of HCP staff to one another in meetings. All team meetings (including huddle and administrative meetings) will be conducted remotely by conference call. Administrative or office-based staff will be encouraged to conduct interactions using the phone, text or email rather than in person.

2. Carolyn’s House, our hospice residence, will be limiting visitors to immediate family, the hospice care team and faith leaders. Visitors will be required to complete a questionnaire and anyone exhibiting a temperature greater than 100.4 Fahrenheit will not be granted access.

3. Visitors to the office will be asked to complete a questionnaire and anyone exhibiting a temperature of greater than 100.4 Fahrenheit will not be granted access.

4. Field staff are being asked to not enter the office building unless absolutely necessary. All HCP staff will be asked to complete the questionnaire and provide information before any travel outside of Central Pennsylvania.

5. HCP staff were provided with the following hygiene reminders:

  • Please wash your hands and sanitize often.
  • Cough/sneeze into a tissue or your elbow and wash your hands or sanitize after each occurrence.
  • Physical contact during the course of your clinical work is unavoidable, but please refrain from unnecessary contact with others (hugs, handshakes) during this period.
  • If you feel unwell, no matter how minor or slight, i.e., cold symptoms, please call out sick and stay at home. If you believe that you could meaningfully work from home, please discuss that with your supervisor to determine if such an arrangement is possible.

6. HCP staff were provided with CDC guidance to manage healthcare personnel exposure to COVID-19.

7. HCP staff are screening patients, and caregivers, regarding their potential exposure to COVID-19 in order to provide the best care for the patient, to minimize exposure and risk to HCP staff and to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 in our community.

If your loved one in our care experiences new symptoms of fever, cough or shortness of breath, please report this to HCP immediately by calling (717) 732-1000.

HCP follows the Center for Disease Control’s guidance on use of personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves. To conserve potentially limited supplies, these are only to be used when there is suspected or actual exposure to the COVID-19 or other contagious disease.

HCP is staying in close contact with area hospitals and the Pennsylvania Department of Health for additional news that will help to mitigate the transmission of COVID-19 to our patients, caregivers, visitors and staff.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding COVID-19 and Hospice Care

1. Will HCP provide masks and hand sanitizers to families who have patients in hospice care?

Currently, there is a national shortage of masks; however, if a patient is having signs of respiratory illness, masks may be provided to families if available. Masks are not being provided to patients and caregivers who have no signs of respiratory illness.

Due to shortages of hand sanitizer, HCP suggests that you follow proper hand hygiene. https://www.cdc.gov/handhygiene/providers/guideline.html

2. Should I wear a mask when visiting with my loved one?

There is not a need for either you or your loved one to wear a mask while visiting, if your loved one has no symptoms. It is recommended that you follow proper hand hygiene.

Do not visit or come in close proximity to your loved one if you, or your loved one, exhibits any symptoms such as fever with cough or other respiratory illness.

3. My hospice nurse is not wearing a mask. Is this okay?

Both the CDC and the Pennsylvania Department of Health are not currently recommending the wearing of masks during direct patient care or other routine activities. Additionally, our staff has been trained in working with patients who are critically ill and who may have compromised immune systems.

4. Will HCP offer a coronavirus test to our patients for coronavirus?

HCP is not testing patients for coronavirus at this time; however, if a patient meets certain criteria, coronavirus may be suspected. If this is the case, HCP staff will notify the Pennsylvania Department of Health and follow their instructions.

5. Is HCP screening patients for coronavirus?

HCP is following CDC recommendations to screen patients who present with fever and lower respiratory illness (i.e. cough, shortness of breath).

6. What should I do if my loved one in hospice care develops a fever and symptoms of lower respiratory illness?

Report the condition to HCP immediately by calling (717) 732-1000.

7. I want to transfer my loved one to a hospital, E.R., urgent care center, or doctor’s office—what should I do?

Call HCP (717) 732-1000 before calling 911.

8. Can I visit with my loved one who is a patient at Carolyn’s House?

Yes, immediate family members may visit. All visitors are being screened upon arrival including a questionnaire and your temperature will be taken. HCP reserves the right to deny entrance to any staff or visitor whom we feel will pose a health risk to those in our care.

9. Can I visit with my loved one who is in a nursing home?

Visitors to patients in nursing homes, retirement communities, and assisted living facilities, will be subject to the visitation guidelines put in place by those facilities. Please call them first, before you visit, if you are unsure of their guidelines.