Does HPH accept patients who are positive with COVID-19?

Our team members are trained and prepared to provide care should you refer a hospice-eligible patient who has COVID-19. Hospice-eligible patients with COVID-19 will be assessed based on hospice program supply of necessary PPE (N-95 mask, goggles or face shield, and gown) to ensure the safety of our staff, patients, and families.

The HPH mission and core values stem from years of supporting our partners to care for hospice-eligible patients regardless of diagnosis, complexity, acuity, or social circumstance. * This will not change


Do hospice patients with known or suspected COVID-19 infection require hospitalization? 

COVID-19, like any other infection, requires an individualized approach to care.

The HPH care team talks with patients and families to understand their wishes and values, which become part of care plans so that care goals are honored.

The majority of patients near the end of life want to be at home and out of the hospital. We can generally manage patients in their setting of choice with supportive measures and care.


Will the HPH care team help to relieve coronavirus symptoms in an infected patient?

Our HPH care teams are experienced in managing symptoms commonly experienced near the end of life. Many of these symptoms are also common with coronavirus, including fever, shortness of breath, and cough. HPH incorporates pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic treatments to help alleviate these symptoms while ensuring patient, family, and staff safety.


How will HPH staff visit patients safely during the COVID-19 pandemic?

HPH staff will continue to adhere to established screening protocols to assess the risks of infection spread through each patient encounter. With the advent of COVID-19, these protocols continue to evolve as we strive to keep our patients, families and staff safe.

As always, care team members follow all universal safety precautions and incorporate US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and state/local health departments guidance regarding personal protective equipment (PPE). Appropriate PPE varies with each individual situation and may include gloves, masks, shields, and/or gowns.

We also follow protocols and mandates from the facilities we serve, including nursing homes, assisted living communities, care homes for the elderly, etc.


What are the considerations when caring for a hospice patient in their home during the coronavirus outbreak?

During periods of crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic, family members and close friends continue to provide daily care. Caregivers should develop habits and strategies to maintain their own health and well-being. This helps to both limit viral transmission and to avoid the ever-present risk of caregiver burnout.

Follow CDC-recommended protocols for personal and patient hygiene as also practiced by High Peaks Hospice.


Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds, especially:

  • Before, during, and after food preparation
  • After using the toilet, blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • Before and after treating someone who is ill


Stay Informed about COVID-19, But Don’t Overdo It

Keep up to date on the state of COVID-19 in your area, but don’t obsess, and don’t mistake social media opinion for fact.

A constant barrage of pandemic-focused news can be mentally and emotionally overwhelming, so try to limit your intake to a certain time or times each day.

The HPH team will keep you informed on best practices. Don’t be afraid to call or ask questions during their visits.


Take Care of Yourself

Your patient’s well-being relies on your ability to maintain your own. To be at your best, be sure to:

  • Eat healthy, balanced meals
  • Maintain a regular sleep routine
  • Find chances to exercise whenever possible
  • Stay Connected to those you love, even if from a distance


Watch for Signs of Burnout

Caregiver burnout can happen in any caregiver-patient relationship, but the risk is heightened in times of increased stress.

You may be suffering from caregiver burnout if you experience any of these problems:

  • Hopelessness
  • Overwhelming anxiety
  • Sleep problems
  • Difficulty coping with everyday tasks
  • Consider making more time for yourself when possible, or take a break for up to 5 days with support from HPH respite care (please speak to your hospice care team about this).


Does High Peaks Hospice test for COVID-19?

For patients, HPH follows the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CMS) and state/local health departments that are based upon many factors such as test availability, facility concerns, and the impact of a test result altering the care plan.

Positive or Negative the patient stays on services, and we continue to treat as we would any other infection. Where safety and awareness considerations for family and caregivers are concerned, they are welcome to obtain at home kits that are covered by all major insurances at this time, or if able bring their loves one to a physician’s office or pharmacy to be tested. If there is a hardship with cost for testing due to lack of insurance coverage HPH will gladly cover any applicable fees for the patient on service.

For employees, test decisions are based upon their physicians’ judgment. HPH does not require testing for employees remaining Asymptomatic and following PPE guidelines brought down by the CDC, CMS and our Local Department of Health.


Will HPH team members care for patients in facilities that are not allowing families to visit due to coronavirus?

Guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) requests that facilities ensure residents receive the necessary end of life care, which includes hospice. This recommendation enables hospice staff to visit and care for patients in facilities. Each facility has unique visiting requirements, and we work with our facility partners to schedule visits so we can take care of each patient’s needs. Please contact the facility directly for specific information.


Are facilities where patients are getting hospice care requesting COVID-19 testing or laboratory results for patients who show symptoms?

Decisions about COVID-19 testing within a facility are made by that facility, depending on the situation.

These decisions are aided by input from the facility’s medical director, attending physicians, and state/local health departments.


Can I still volunteer for High Peaks Hospice during the coronavirus pandemic?

At HPH, we are still actively recruiting volunteers. You can make a difference from the comfort of your home. We have an immediate need for volunteers, who we will train, to make support calls to hospice patients and their families both on service, and within our bereavement program.

Additionally, we are taking interested volunteers with sewing skills to make Memory Bears from home.