A new, unexpected problem has now surfaced due to the coronavirus. Certain healthcare workers are being put into more danger from patients put into Hospice care.
Hospice is a place where actively dying people go to live out the rest of their days. Hospice nurses are responsible for making sure patients are comfortable and not in pain. More families have been opting to put their loved ones into Hospice care instead of a nursing home or assisted living because of the visitation limits put on those facilities.
Hospice is the only place where there is not a limit on the number of visitors, since patients in Hospice are expected to be near death.
A worker from a Hospice facility in Cleveland, said these patients are using more resources because they need to be monitored more closely. One patient insists on trying to go to the bathroom by herself and falls whenever she tries to walk and an incident report must be filed every time this happens.
Another worker says one patient had over 30 family members visit, and while this is within Hospice visitation rules, it doesn’t stop the facility from being at higher-risk during a pandemic.
Hospice facilities are also much smaller than nursing homes or assisted living facilities since patients are not expected to stay there long. Since more families are choosing Hospice instead of these places, available rooms do not stay vacant for long. This leaves patients who are actively dying no other choice than to stay in the hospital where visitation isn’t possible.
Leora Horwitz, MD, a doctor treating COVID-19 patients at New York University’s Langone Health, has seen firsthand what coronavirus does to patients. The top priority for many people, she tweeted, is “not to die alone in a hospital.”
While it’s understandable for patients to not want to be alone at an older age, coronavirus has continued to spread in Ohio. As of June 11, the number of cases is at 39,575 and a death toll of 2,457. The most at-risk population is those over 50 years old.
While stay-at-home measures have successfully flattened the curve, the United States has surpassed every other country to have the most cases recorded. As of June 11, the number of cases in the U.S. is at 1.9 million.