Hospice care is stressful for the caregiver of a sick loved one, and the pandemic has only increased their anxiety. The stress has caused caregivers to ask VNA hospice professionals numerous questions about ways to keep their declining loved ones as safe as possible.
Here are five common questions along with VNA’s responses:
What should caregivers be doing to keep themselves and their loved ones in hospice safe?
The biggest and most obvious thing caregivers should be doing is following CDC guidelines such as social distancing, wearing a mask, washing hands frequently and getting vaccinated as soon as they’re eligible. Also, basic things such as getting rest, exercising, eating a healthy diet and socializing safely are good habits to develop to stay healthy both for your own sake and for the sake of protecting your loved ones.
Can my bedridden loved one in hospice get the COVID-19 vaccine?
Not at this time. The vaccine is temperature sensitive and does not travel well. The vaccine also has to be given in multiple doses since there aren’t single dose vials. This is why it’s so important for caregivers to get the vaccine if they are eligible as it’s another precaution to help make sure their vulnerable loved ones who are unable to get vaccinated right away remain safe and protected.
Is it safe for hospice personnel to enter my home?
Yes. As has been the case throughout the entire pandemic, hospice personnel wear appropriate PPE and follow evolving CDC guidelines when in patients’ homes. So far, the VNA has not determined any cross contamination of COVID-19 between staff and patients. Additionally, 97% of VNA’s hospice staff is vaccinated, and VNA employees are tested weekly.
Is it safe for me to go out in public if I have a loved one at home in hospice?
As long as you are following CDC guidelines and being safe, it is alright to go out. People have been isolated for so long that it’s good for caregivers’ mental health to get some fresh air or socialize with vaccinated friends and family. Slowly but surely, it will get safer and safer to be in public, so take a walk, drive around your neighborhood or take a trip to the store.
What questions should I ask hospice care providers regarding COVID-19?
When talking with hospice care providers during COVID-19, it’s important to ask what percentage of their staff is vaccinated, what their experience is with isolating COVID-19 employees and what their safety record has looked like since the beginning of the pandemic. Being able to talk with a hospice provider and talk to somebody about your questions is always important. They probably aren’t the right hospice for you if they aren’t taking the time to address your concerns.
To learn more about VNA’s hospice program, visit our website.