COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions
We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions during the COVID-10 pandemic. These questions come from caregivers, patients and healthcare providers.
As you review, we invite you to contact us to discuss a topic(s) further.
Topic areas below include:: (click a link to view on page)
PATIENT CARE & PROGRAM QUESTIONS
General Patient Care
How has your team prepared to handle patients infected with COVID-19?
Each of our care team members has all the necessary CDC-recommended personal protective equipment (PPE) and will be fully and properly outfitted when visiting COVID-19 positive patients and caregivers in homes or nursing facilities.
By screening patients, caregivers and nursing homes before each visit, we walk through the door with confidence.
What measures are in place to protect patients and caregivers from COVID-19 during visits?
Our patients and their caregivers are always our priority. Policies and procedures are in place and are continually reviewed and updated to ensure that we do everything possible to keep our patients, family members and other caregivers safe from exposure to COVID-19.
Is your team providing telemedicine virtual visits?
Both our advanced illness management and hospice programs are currently making tele-visits through a simple, user-friendly, privacy-protected software platform called TapCloud. Our team members are willing and able to engage with our patients using one of several devices, including smartphones, computers and tablets.
Do you plan to give COVID-19 vaccinations when they become available?
Yes, we do. We will be making every effort to be at the forefront of any community-wide immunization program for COVID-19 when they become available just as we are now for the influenza vaccines.
What’s the best way I can reach a care specialist or make a referral?
Our office is open Monday-Friday from 8 am to 4:45 pm. Patients, families, physicians, or healthcare entities can initiate questions or referrals over the phone by calling 314-918-7171. You can visit our referral page to connect as well.
Are you currently visiting hospice patients living in assisted or nursing home facilities?
Some assisted and nursing home facilities are allowing hospice care team members inside for visits. Please contact us to discuss your situation directly.
Can your team provide virtual grief support or bereavement care?
Yes, we can. We offer grief support groups via video or phone conference. Please contact us to learn more about group availability.
Advanced Illness Management
Are your care teams currently visiting patients in their homes?
Our care team continues to provide the same high-quality care where patients live. We are visiting patients face-to-face as needed to provide symptom management for serious chronic illnesses, discuss goals of care or establish a health management plan. Our continued commitment to providing home-based care to seniors wherever they reside allows the advanced illness management team to give patients and families the confidence of knowing they have a trusted care partner.
GRIEF AND MENTAL HEALTH GUIDANCE QUESTIONS
What actions can I take to help cope with the loss of a loved one?
Grief is a universal emotion, but no two people experience grief in the same way. Some actions you can take to help you cope with feelings of grief while practicing social distancing and honoring your loved one include:
Invite people to call you, or host conference calls with family members and friends to stay connected
Ask family and friends to share stories and pictures with you via phone, video chat, email, text message, photo sharing apps, social media, or mailed letters
Create a virtual memory book, blog, or webpage to remember your loved one, and ask family and friends to contribute their memories and stories
Coordinate a date and time for family and friends to honor your loved one by reciting a selected poem, spiritual reading, or prayer from within their households. Some cultures practice a prolonged mourning period with multiple observances, so hosting virtual events now and in-person events later may be in keeping with these practices
Try new hobbies for expressing your grief, such as painting or writing
Seek spiritual support from faith-based organizations, including religious leaders and congregations, if applicable. People who are not part of a faith tradition or religious community can seek support from other trusted community leaders and friends
Use grief counseling services, support groups, or hotline service, especially those that can be offered over the phone or online, or seek support from a mental healthcare provider
Read books about grief and loss. If you have children, read age-appropriate books with them and talk with them about how they are feeling
Take part in an activity that has significance to you and the loved one you have lost, such as planting flowers or a tree or preparing a favorite meal, in memory of your loved one
How long will my grieving last?
It has been said that time will heal. Time does not necessarily heal, and there is no time limit to healing from the grief of any loss. Recovery from the emotional pain is dependent on the griever recognizing how they are dealing with that pain. It is not uncommon for one to grieve based on what they have seen. Thinking back on how you observed your parents or other family members in your life might affect the way you grieve.
Taking actions to help you identify your pain while allowing yourself to take the time you need to say goodbye to the unfinished and incomplete departure. This gives space so you can enjoy the fond memories you might have without constant intrusion of the emotional pain of that loss. It’s not about the time but being able to successfully face a future that may be vastly different from the one that you had planned.
What can I do to move beyond my grief due to loss?
David Kessler, an expert on grief, recently noted that “We are experiencing many losses, collectively and individually, which we never anticipated.” He and others, including Dr. Doka of Hospice Foundation of America, have named some of these losses. It is a daunting laundry list of losses. Here are just a few:
loss of gathering
loss of the world as we know it
loss of an assumed sense of safety and predictability
loss of our way of life
loss of financial stability and certainty
loss of our ability to visit our loved ones
Those in the field of grief, tell us it is essential to name our grief and to recognize our sorrow; this is what enables us to move through the pain. The hope is that we will then be able to make space for our “new normal,” and in so doing, we not only learn to cope, but we also learn to expand, grow and thrive.
How can I reach out to people in need to show I care?
Our world has become smaller (as we stay home, more than not) but keep in mind that sometimes the smallest things are the greatest. A smile. A wave through the window. A phone call. A card. A kind word. All these small, seemingly insignificant gestures carry the power to make a huge difference in someone’s day and even in their life.
It may seem we are wandering alone in a wilderness of danger and confusion, but extending small moments of kindness to others can hold back the wild, painful thistles of this pandemic and cut a walkable path through it. Compassion does not need proximity; we can offer it anywhere at any time. Walls can never confine a prayer.
I am experiencing more fatigue than usual, what might be the cause?
Outside of any medical issues which could be at play, the reason for the fatigue might be related to “low-grade hypervigilance.” This is defined as “extreme or excessive vigilance: the state of being highly or abnormally alert to potential danger or threat.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to learn important precautionary measures to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. We have quickly adopted vigilant behaviors to ensure we stay healthy (frequent handwashing, use of hand sanitizers and facial coverings). This vigilance is essential, but low-grade hypervigilance is the kind of internal, emotional state which keeps us on alert 24/7, a constant “low-volume worry.” It is unhealthy and can disrupt regular living.
To address and treat, it’s important to take time to name your concerns, fears and worries. For some, this might mean casting all your anxieties on God or a spiritual provider. For others, it might mean writing all your worries down on pieces of paper and placing them in a box, closing the lid and releasing them from your psyche. Journaling or talking with someone can help as well.
How can I ease my anxiety about our new and, sometimes, scary world?
To help ease your anxiety, try to stay in the moment. Anxiety is often, “future-focused;” we fear future pain, future loss, future misfortune. Staying in the moment helps us realize we are ok in the here and now. Look out the window and notice the birds; what do you see? Are they worried? Lose yourself in cloud-watching (remember when you were a kid and you imagined shapes in the clouds?). You might also do something which will help you feel like life is “business as usual;” this might mean doing something as seemingly insignificant as watering your plants, petting your cat, or brushing your teeth. These simple routines can refocus your attention on the present and remove it from the future (with all its’ uncertainties).
It’s important to practice self-compassion as well. This can include soothing self-talk. Imagine a small child tugging on your sleeve and saying, “I’m scared.” How would you respond to this frightened child? You would, most likely, ask them why they are afraid. Then you might say something comforting to soothe their fears. You would, likely, listen and give them your wholehearted attention. Now, imagine that you are that child and offer yourself the same compassion.
What are the official protocols for funerals in the event of death during this time?
From CDC: This guidance is for individuals and families as they work with funeral directors, community and religious leaders, and others to plan and hold funeral services and visitations during the COVID-19 pandemic is as follows:
Small gatherings of ten or fewer people, when adhering to the federally issued Coronavirus Safety Guidelines, are permitted depending on the state. Check your local government website for more information.
Considerations for funerals include:
Use technology to connect virtually with family and friends during the grieving process
Modify funeral arrangements, such as limiting attendance at funerals held during shortly after the time of death to a small number of immediate family members and friends; and then holding additional memorial services when social distancing guidelines are less restrictive
Practice social distancing by maintaining at least 6 feet between attendees, facility staff, and clergy or officiants when small, in-person services are held
Modify to funeral rites and rituals (for example, avoid touching the deceased person’s body or personal belongings or other ceremonial objects) to make sure of everyone’s safety
Wear cloth face coverings while around others and outside of your home