STOCK_Letter to editor

Our country and the world are facing one of the most dramatic events in our combined history.

As the COVID-19 outbreak continues across the U.S., many long-term care facilities have restricted visitors’ access.

While well intentioned and meant to protect residents, these visitation bans have left hospice providers unable to reach patients with life-limiting illnesses due to confusion about the definition of “essential service.”

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS,) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) have all deemed hospice care an “essential service.”

Despite this, along with family members, hospice physicians, nurse practitioners, RNs, LPNs, aides, social workers, chaplains and bereavement specialists are being locked out of caring for the most fragile, sickest and closest-to-death individuals residing in facilities.

Hospice providers are more than visitors – they are an integral part of a patient’s healthcare team.

By working side-by-side and collaboratively with the staff of long-term care, we help facilities focus on delivering the highest quality of care to all residents, especially those requiring an even higher level of care.

Please join me in imploring facility administrators to leave their doors open to hospice personnel so we may continue caring for those who need it most at end-of-life.

Farmer, Independence, is CEO and founder of Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care.

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