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COVID-19 Update: Safe With Us

COVID-19 Update: Safe With Us

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Nurses and Care Partners Give ‘All They Have’ While Confronting COVID-19 in First Hospice House Precaution Unit in Massachusetts

Safe with Us

COVID-19At Home Health Foundation, we have a 125-year history of keeping our patients, their families and this community healthy and safe. Now more than ever, our home health professionals are going above and beyond in delivering the highest quality patient care, combining advanced telehealth technologies with extensive infection control measures. Our health care experts are working around the clock, with trademark clinical expertise and compassion, to ensure you are always Safe with Us.

Home Health Foundation’s home health, palliative and hospice care services continue to be delivered without interruption by compassionate, expert caregivers who are fully trained in infection control practices. In addition to our compliance with OSHA regulations and DPH guidelines concerning universal health care precautions, Home Health Foundation has implemented the following steps to limit potential exposure of the virus:

  • Telephone screenings are being conducted prior to all in-person care visits to assess COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Home Health Foundation is leveraging its knowledge of telehealth in new and innovative ways, and have expanded our telehealth program to meet this important need during the pandemic.
  • Clinicians are supplied with personal protective equipment (PPE), including face shields, masks, gowns, hand sanitizer and anti-bacterial wipes.
  • Staff members are required to stay home when feeling sick. They must be free of fever for 72 hours before returning to work.
  • Visitors to the High Pointe House, the in-patient residence of Merrimack Valley Hospice, are limited and screened at the entrance for COVID-19 symptoms and potential exposure in order to provide additional precautions to those who require them. For more about High Pointe House’s visitor policies, please see below.
  • Merrimack Valley Hospice’s We Honor Veterans program is offering volunteer services online via Zoom video conference.
  • We are providing grief support groups online via Zoom video conference. Click here for more information.
  • Enhanced cleaning services include disinfection of frequently touched surfaces, including door handles, counters, telephones, faucets and common equipment have been implemented at High Pointe House and at our office locations.

High Pointe House 

At High Pointe House, we continue to provide comprehensive hospice support while adjusting our visitation policies to protect the safety of our patients, staff and all visitors during the escalating spread of COVID-19.

Additionally, our team at High Pointe House is now caring for end-of-life patients who are COVID-19 positive within a special precaution unit. The first of its kind in the region, the unit is separate from other patient areas within the acute care hospice residence.  Healthcare professionals caring for end-of-life patients who are also COVID-19 positive are properly equipped with protective personal equipment as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To ensure the safety of patients, visitors and staff, family members are only allowed to visit the precaution unit under specific conditions or when death is imminent. To meet the needs of our patients and community, we conducted exhaustive planning not only to provide optimal care for individuals with COVID-19, but for all those who turn to us at end of life for unparalleled quality, compassionate care.

We are including our visitation policy adjustments so that patients and families may be informed of the changes prior to arrival:

  • Visitors are limited to immediate family (as defined by the patient) only, with a maximum of 2 visitors at a time, and 6 visitors per patient, per 24 hours in our non precaution units.
  • A total of one (1) visitor for up to one hour per day in our precaution unit when death is imminent. Precaution Unit nurse will call family member to arrange the visit.
  • If a visitor is staying overnight, they must arrive by 8:00 pm.
  • In accordance with Massachusetts DPH guidelines, High Pointe House will not allow any visitor from outside of the following states to visit a High Pointe hospice patient, unless the nursing staff has contacted this family member/visitor to come in, typically when death is imminent.
    • The following states exempt and are allowed include Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, New York and New Jersey.
    • Family members arriving after the loss of their loved one may have two (2) people enter together, if the two visitors were the same family members who had been present in the same day.
  • All visitors are screened with temperature checks and screening questions before entry.
    • We are also screening all staff via a self-reporting system prior to reporting to work with temperature checks and health screening questions.
  • All visitors are given a face mask to wear while visiting High Pointe House.
  • All visitors must stay in the patient’s room during the visit and must fully exit the building at the end of the visit. Social distancing of 6 feet is to be maintained outside of the patient room.

Home Health Foundation is making every proactive effort to ensure you and your loved ones are Safe with Us while minimizing the risk of disruption to vital caregiving services. Updates will be provided as they become available, including implementing recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control & Protection and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

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