Delaware Hospice is working to protect the people we serve, our staff, and volunteers during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. Over the past 39 years, Delaware Hospice has frequently cared for our community members with infectious diseases, and we have vigorous infection control protocols in place from Centers for Medicare Services (CMS), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Joint Commission, Delaware Health and Social Services (DHSS), and the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH). As an organization, our mission is to support every individual, family, and community with compassionate and expert care for serious illness while protecting those in our care and our staff from exposure.
Delaware Hospice has taken these measures to help limit the spread of COVID-19:
- Our offices are limited to essential employees and limited volunteers at this time. The Delaware Hospice Center has very limited visitation in place. Please continue to call ahead at 302-478-5707 to learn specific modifications by office. We are following current and modified health guidelines from the CDC, DHSS, DOH, and local government leaders. We will assess daily to determine if there is a need to adjust these limitations. Our Leadership Team has enacted our Emergency Preparedness Team which is providing frequent updates to Leadership and staff.
- Our clinical and administrative teams are practicing exceptional hand hygiene and have increased our disinfecting process. At this time, we currently have the hand hygiene, disinfectant, and personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies that we need. Delaware Hospice has also secured a supply of PPE that we are able to set aside for emergency situations. However, we are continuing to actively work with state and federal government agencies to secure extra supplies to ensure the safety of our community.
- We have started to slowly re-open our offices which include amending policies and procedures in accordance with state guidelines. All staff have received education covering the principles of preventing the spread of infection. Staff are also participating in wearing masks, social distancing, and continued daily health screenings. Some staff are still temporarily following our telecommuting policy that allows employees to work at home, on the road, or in a satellite location for all or part of their workweek. As the backbone of our organization, our incredible team is actively being monitored for illness. This is to help limit the exposure of COVID-19 between staff members and patients and their families. Delaware Hospice had already been utilizing telehealth in several programs prior to the pandemic. Our entire field staff team have been trained and are utilizing the system to provide home, facility, and hospital care. When appropriate our staff is going into homes, facilities, and hospitals to provide care.
- Education and communication is key to helping to stop the spread. As a healthcare leader in our community, we are providing education to our patients and families about prevention, screening, and signs of symptoms. We are advising families to screen all visitors. Delaware Hospice staff is recommending families host virtual visits utilizing telecommunications like FaceTime, Skype, and phone calls. This has allowed our patients to stay in contact with their loved ones while being safe from the spread of COVID-19. Before our staff enters a home, long-term care facilities, hospitals, or the Delaware Hospice Center, we are communicating with families and staff to limit exposure. Please continue to educate yourself on the evolving information available regarding COVID-19. Protect your family and friends by selecting valid, reliable sources.
- Our volunteers are still supporting Delaware Hospice through a variety of social distancing activities. Our Volunteer Coordinators will continue to work with Leadership Team to determine the optimal activities for our patients, families, and volunteers to stay safe and healthy during this time. We are now offering virtual volunteer orientation and education. If you are interested in patient or office volunteering (when appropriate), please consider becoming a volunteer.
- Special events including this year’s Festival of Trees, bereavement workshops, and in-person meetings are being held virtually. Our Bereavement and New Hope Teams have established virtual support groups. Please review our events calendars for times. In recognition of the difficulty at this time in visiting loved ones and mourning them in the usual fashion, our bereavement counselors are now available by phone and teleconference upon a family member’s admission to our program. Please reach out to 302-478-5707 for bereavement support.
Delaware Hospice is still supporting our community by doing what we do best, provide care for individuals who may be ready for hospice or palliative care. Please contact us if we can be of any support at this time.