Updated: Aug 2, 2022
The pandemic has led to unpredictable times, but even during the uncertainty, the hospice and palliative care industry has stayed strong and adapted to changes. Hospice care is comfort care without the intent to cure a condition. Palliative care is comfort care provided to those with serious illness but isn’t necessarily focused on the end of life.
These adaptations will continue into 2022 as new variants prolong the pandemic and certain precautions will need to be taken to keep patients, caregivers and providers safe. Here are the top three trends in hospice and palliative care for 2022.
Embracing Virtual Hospice and Palliative Care
Early in the pandemic, providers had to transition to forms of virtual care to effectively adhere to CDC guidelines. The most obvious effect of this transition is that it has made social distancing easier. However, it also benefits patients and caregivers in that they have quicker access to providers because they no longer have to visit them in person. Instead, providers are a click or tap away and can be updated on patients’ conditions and symptoms more frequently. This won’t change in 2022 as concerns regarding new variants will cause many to want to stay at home instead of visiting doctors’ offices, or have hesitancy around letting hospice or palliative care providers into their homes. It will also continue in 2022 due to the successes as a result of patients and caregivers having easier access to providers.
The Visiting Nurse Association of Greater St. Louis (VNA) embraced technology with the adoption of TapCloud, a HIPAA-secured application that allows for remote patient management for clinical staff along with virtual visits with VNA physicians and nurses. To learn more about TapCloud, read this story about the top questions patients have about the service: https://www.vnastl.com/post/top-6-questions-that-patients-and-caregivers-ask-about-tapcloud-our-telehealth-service
Safety in the Home
Many of the CDC guidelines set early in the pandemic will continue to be followed into 2022. These include wearing the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) and social distancing where possible. These are important no matter where patients, caregivers or providers find themselves, and that includes the home when at-home visits are necessary. Especially considering new variants spread more easily than the original virus, following the proper protocols is as important as ever. We’re following the CDC guidelines closely to monitor and manage our patient and staff safety.
Nonprofit Providers Are Key Players
Even in a for-profit dominated industry, nonprofit hospice and palliative care providers are key in getting patients the care they need amid the pandemic. When the world needs extra care, it means all-hands-on-deck. It also means providing a diverse range of providers with different missions, histories and expertise so that all prospective patients are covered regardless of their condition or background.
VNA is a proud nonprofit provider of hospice and palliative care, and this is reflected in their mission to provide a coordinated continuum of care to all in the St. Louis community, regardless of who they are. This has been the case throughout the course of the pandemic as they’ve stepped up to support seniors and communities across the region to help during this tumultuous time of need, just as they have for the entirety of their 100+ year history.