March 20, 2020,
Hello- For as long as possible we have tried to keep things status quo for you, our patients and families, for us that includes all communication coming from the staff that you regularly interact with. These are not normal times, and I thought it was time that I share with you the steps we have taken to keep you and our organization safe.
- Our Emergency Preparedness plan was engaged last thursday, March 12. All staff, those essential and nonessential, are working remotely from their homes.At this time, we are completely operational, although remote.
- We have cut down on the times our staff interact with you and each other. This is in an effort to limit the chance for exposure. Any visits that can be done through a telehealth solution will be. However, we are still committed to your comfort and relief, call us as you normally would to ask about symptoms, medication, and anxiety. At this time, essential visits from RNs are still at the direction of those in our care. Do not hesitate to tell us that you want an in person visit.
- Any staff that is making field visits is doing a daily health screen and screening the homes of all of the patients they are visiting that day over the phone, prior to making a visit. I appreciate you complying with this.
- Lourdes Health Support, our durable medical equipment supplier, is taking similar steps to protect their small company and will be leaving anything they possibly can on your porch or lawn. They will still come inside to set up a bed or other piece of big equipment, you can do your part by keeping your distance when they come to your home to set things up.
- Our supply lines remain good, at this time and we have been reassured that as long as we continue to order medications as we normally would,we shoud not have a problem obtaining the medications we need to ensure patient comfort and safety, but we do anticipate some orders will get delayed in the mail. Please do all you can to give your RN advanced notice of the medications that you might need.
- Our organization is facing a critical shortage of PPE and at this time we are following CDC guidelines that no asymptomatic healthcare workers should wear masks. We are complying with all of the regulations that have been imposed in the nursing facilities that we work with, and we want to ensure that we manage our supply to ensure that we can continue to keep you safe and healthy as this situation escalates.
I welcome any questions or concerns that you would like to share with me as we continue to navigate this unprecedented situation together. I do have some requests that I will make of you and your family.
- Treat your home like it is our hospital. Limit the number of visitors who are coming in and out. Ask one person in your family unit to be the person who is getting supplies and try to minimize those trips. Hospice patients are a very vulnerable population and so are their caregivers who are working around the clock to take care of them. Follow the CDC guidelines for handwashing and keeping your home clean that were given to you by our staff.
- Tell us what we can do for you to put you at ease. We are working with the community to figure out what resources are in place to offer, but things are changing on a daily basis.
- I encourage all of you who can, to go to https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/protect-yourself-and-your-family-coronavirus-covid19 and keep up to date with the information that changes daily.
- Remain calm and patient. We all are worried about what is to come and what is going to happen, but I am confident that we can help you work through this unprecedented situation. The staff at Hospice of Chenango County are some of the most dedicated and talented people I have ever worked with and I feel confident that we can work through this together.
I encourage you to express your concerns with your care team and their Director, Julie Palmere. I appreciate your willingness to work with us through this time.
I wish you Peace and Comfort,
Kendall Drexler, LMSW