My mother is about to begin hospice care after receiving a terminal cancer diagnosis. While this is already a tough reality to face, the added stress of the pandemic has sent me into a bit of a spiral. I’m trying not to let the paranoia rule my decision-making. But with all of the news coverage, it’s hard not to worry about mother being exposed to COVID-19. I would place her in a bubble if I could.
I know that hospice care will be an absolute blessing for my mother and our family, but I can’t help but fear that she could contract the virus, causing detrimental consequences. Is there any way you could ease these concerns? What exactly is Crossroads doing in response to the pandemic?
Dear Overprotective Daughter,
Thanks so much for reaching out.
Your worry for your mother is both understandable and warranted. I’m here to help ease these concerns and assure you that Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care has taken the pandemic very seriously. We have responded as best we can given the information we have been provided by the experts. We stay up to date on the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations, follow them closely, and adjust protocol as needed. We also have extensive agency policies and procedures that ensure that we are taking every precaution to try to mitigate any risk to our employees, patients, families, and referral sources.
We’ve established a COVID-19 Committee that consists of medical professionals including our Chief Medical Officer, a Registered Dietician, and myself — our Chief Compliance Officer who is also a certified registered nurse. The purpose of this committee is to formally review each and every employee who may be exhibiting signs of COVID-19.
This committee is essentially on call 24/7 to ensure the leadership at all of our sites have the information needed to ensure that the staff and patients are protected to the best of our ability. Due to the unique nature of this virus – which can display mild to severe symptoms based on the individual – formally reviewing each potential case allows us to mandate and ensure the appropriate procedure while following the CDC guidelines. We also have a mandatory influenza vaccination policy that requires staff to be vaccinated against influenza provided free of charge.
We feel that we are being very aggressive in ensuring the safety of our staff, patients, families, and referrals sources. In fact, we have had several outside agencies who have audited and are impressed with the procedures we are utilizing and have given us a “deficiency free” type report. This means we have passed the COVID-19 survey provided by Community Health Accreditation Partners (CHAP). Some of the procedures we are utilizing and should hopefully help to put your mind at ease include the following:
We are screening our employees every shift using the CDC recommended screening parameters. Every employee has their temperature checked before beginning their shift and are assessed to ensure that they are not exhibiting any symptoms. Many facilities we work with require our staff to be tested weekly. If an individual is tested positive, the test results are reported to the health department by the testing lab and state protocols are followed. The employee is then quarantined, and the health department will perform contact tracing. After they’ve quarantined and no longer exhibit symptoms, they will be retested and must have a negative test or a physician’s note stating that they are cleared for duty.
We are performing daily cleaning and sanitizing of workspaces and are also utilizing professional companies that have formal and complex disinfecting cleaning procedures. Additionally, staff are provided educational resources and training on how to properly put on and take off masks, and we have added additional educational and training modules specifically related to COVID-19.
We have an ongoing, multi-level stocking procedure that is designed to ensure that not only do we have enough masks, but we also have set up additional resources to ensure we have ample PPE in case our current providers have any issues in providing supplies. All staff, regardless of their position within the agency, are required to wear masks at all times. No exception.
Crossroads is a top-notch, professional organization that has been in business for 25 years. We ensure that we have highly trained personnel that not only have the basic requirements in regard to infection control, but we also take it much further and require extensive amounts of education and training, specifically related to COVID-19.
We are here to be supportive, professional allies with our assisted living, long-term care, and extended care facilities. We will continue working in tandem with their staff to ensure that patients and residents continue to receive excellent end-of-life care in spite of this pandemic. By working together and allowing our personnel to assist their personnel, patients with an end-of-life disease will not become victims of this pandemic.
If you have any other questions about our specific protocols, please do not hesitate to reach out.
DeAnna Looper RN, CHPN, CHPCA, LNC, CHC, CPCO
Chief Compliance Officer
Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care
For more information on how Crossroads supports patients and their families, give us a call at 888-564-3405.
If you found this information helpful, please share it with your network and community.
Copyright © 2020 Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care. All rights reserved.