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Community Care Hospice Logo

Community Care Hospice

1669 Rombach Ave.
Wilmington, OH 45177
Phone: 937.382.5400
Fax: 937.383.3898

Ohio's Community Mercy Hospice Logo

Ohio's Community Mercy Hospice

1830 N. Limestone St.
Springfield, OH 45503
937.390.9665

Ohio's Hospice at United Church Homes Logo

Ohio's Hospice at United Church Homes

Chapel Hill
12200 Strausser St. NW
Canal Fulton, OH 44614
330.264.4899

Ohio's Hospice at United Church Homes Logo

Ohio's Hospice at United Church Homes

200 Timberline Dr. #1212
Marietta, OH 45750
740.629.9990

Ohio's Hospice LifeCare Logo

Ohio's Hospice LifeCare

1900 Akron Rd.
Wooster, OH 44691
330.264.4899

Ohio's Hospice Loving Care Logo

Ohio's Hospice Loving Care

779 London Ave.
Marysville, OH 43040
937.644.1928

Ohio's Hospice of Butler & Warren Counties

Ohio's Hospice of Butler & Warren Counties

5940 Long Meadow Dr.
Middletown, OH 45005
513.422.0300

Ohio's Hospice of Dayton Logo

Ohio's Hospice of Dayton

324 Wilmington Ave.
Dayton, OH 45420
937.256.4490
1.800.653.4490

Ohio's Hospice of Central Ohio

Newark

2269 Cherry Valley Rd.
Newark, OH 43055
740.788.1400

Inpatient Care Center

1320 West Main St.
Newark, OH 43055
740.344.0379

Ohio's Hospice of Central Ohio at
The Ohio State University
Wexner Medical Center

410 W 10th Ave - 7th Floor
Columbus, OH 43210
614.685.0001

Ohio's Hospice of Fayette County Logo

Ohio's Hospice of Fayette County

222 N. Oakland Ave.
Washington Court House, OH 43160
740.335.0149

Ohio's Hospice of Miami County Logo

Ohio's Hospice of Miami County

3230 N. Co. Rd. 25A
Troy, OH 45373
937.335.5191

Ohio's Hospice of Fayette County Logo

Ohio's Hospice of Morrow County

228 South St.
Mount Gilead, OH 43338
419.946.9822

Ohio's Hospice

Ohio's Hospice

Dayton

7575 Paragon Rd.
Dayton, OH 45459
1.800.654.4490

Cincinnati

11013 Montgomery Rd.
Cincinnati, OH 45249
1.800.654.4490

Meeting Community Need: Inpatient Care

COVID-19: Opening Doors and Hearts to COVID-Positive Patients

Setting policies and procedures for inpatient units during the COVID-19 pandemic represented one of the most challenging issues for hospice providers across the country. With both freestanding hospice inpatient care centers and units housed within area hospitals, Ohio’s Hospice needed to create policies not just to ensure the safety of patients, staff and visitors, but also to respect the policies of host hospitals, as appropriate, follow the known science, and reflect the special circumstances of caring for patients with a limited time to live.

Whether to admit COVID-positive patients was one of the first and most critical questions hospices faced. For Ohio’s Hospice, the answer was: “Of course.” This proved to be as important to area hospitals, skilled nursing and assisted living facilities as it was to hospice patients and their loved ones.

Christy Michaels, MSW, LISWS, APHSW-C, director of Clinical Operations at Ohio’s Hospice LifeCare, reports that their leadership team reached out to the local hospital and assured them that they would be willing to take COVID-positive patients. “If there’s an overflow (of COVID-positive patients), we want to help out any way we can,” Michaels says. “We kept our census low in our inpatient unit just so we’d be able to help out.”

Ohio’s Hospice created isolation units for COVID-positive patients within its inpatient care centers. At a large freestanding care center like Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton, that was a matter of isolating an entire hallway. At a smaller inpatient care center, like at Ohio’s Hospice LifeCare in Wooster, Ohio, welcoming COVID-positive patients was a matter of designating a handful of isolation rooms at the end of a hallway.

To provide the care to COVID-positive patients, Ohio’s Hospice asked for nurses and nursing assistants to volunteer to care for those patients, according to Yvonne Turner, vice president of Clinical Care and chief nursing and care officer for Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton. Social workers and chaplains were allowed on the isolation units only on an as-needed basis, Turner explains, with telehealth visits offered to patients and families as an alternative. For everyone’s safety and well-being, volunteers were not permitted inside the inpatient care centers, she adds.

Although visitation never was shut down entirely, visitation policies were tightly restricted in the early months of the pandemic and then gradually loosened as more was learned about how the virus is transmitted and as PPE became more readily available. “It was crucial that whatever visitation policies we put into place, they not only provided safety for patients and staff but also allowed us to honor patients at the end of life and allowed them to have as much closure at end of life as possible,” Turner says.

That generally meant only one designated visitor, following strict guidelines for donning and doffing PPE under staff supervision, was allowed for the duration of a patient’s stay. Since visitors were not allowed to leave and return the same day, Ohio’s Hospice provided meals for visitors to enjoy in the patient’s room.

To facilitate video calls with other family members and friends, every patient had access to Ohio’s Hospice-supplied iPads. To make it easy for visitors to have “window visits” with patients, Ohio’s Hospice placed a location ID on the windows of each room so loved ones could easily find a patient’s room.

As much as has been done, there’s more that can be done, Wagner notes. “I was at Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton one day. It was raining. I saw someone with an umbrella standing outside a window in the rain. This was possibly the last time this person would see their loved one. It was so emblematic of what the community was going through. And it reaffirmed for me we have to find ways to do more.”

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