Coastal Hospice

A Letter to Our Community

Dear Families, Friends and Supporters of Coastal Hospice,

I write to you today, first and foremost, to reassure you that we are both following every precaution mandated and advocated by the CDC as we serve patients and families in our service.

You may ask, “How is it possible to do both – take precautions and serve patients?”

Frankly, no staff knows more about working with seriously ill patients and their families than hospice, as this is the definition of our job. Our mission statement reads that we promote “dignity and quality of life for patients and families who face life-limiting conditions.” And, while COVID-19 is a “novel” or new virus, we have faced some of the same issues before with seasonal influenza.

We have learned a lot from 40 years’ experience. We are learning even more now, through this experience. Our leadership team meets daily to discuss new recommendations and requirements, and to make sure everyone on our team remains informed.

The Q&A below will help, we hope, allay some fears and communicate the steps we are taking. Please review it and if you have questions, send them to acapen@coastalhospice.org or call us at 410-742-8732.

We are taking every precaution possible to keep our patients, their families, and staff protected. We remain diligent to assure that we are ready and able to serve those who need our services. We have always appreciated your confidence in us, and we work every day to continue to earn it.

Good health to you all,
Alane Capen
CEO
Coastal Hospice

Answers to the questions we are receiving most often

How are you monitoring staff?
We follow CDC guidelines for screening questions. Staff do not report to work if sick. They self-monitor for symptoms of sore throat, cough, fever, or shortness of breath. If they experience any of these, they report to the supervisor and to their health provider.

Are you worried about staffing shortfalls?
We are not. Right now we are well-staffed and we do have back-up staff opportunities if they prove needed.

Are you holding meetings?
Many of our meetings are happening virtually. We have also limited our own gatherings to eight or fewer individuals. Small committees will still meet observing “social distancing” of six feet of separation. No one with respiratory symptoms or fever should attend.

Are you still serving nursing homes?
Yes, we are serving all nursing homes across all four counties, using the protocols noted above.

What are the restrictions on visitors?
We screen visitors at both Coastal Hospice at the Lake and at the Macky & Pam Stansell House.
• At Coastal Hospice at the Lake, following the provisions set by Deer’s Head, we are allowing one visitor at a time.
• At Stansell House, small groups are allowed to visit. We suggest no more than three visitors at a time to a patient, but this may change as circumstances change.

Are you serving Palliative Care patients?
Currently we are screening and seeing only new patients in an effort to keep our waiting rooms open. We are working with existing patients and families by phone to manage refills and questions.

Are your chaplains still available?
Yes, they are involved and providing emotional and spiritual support to patients, family and to our staff, through teleconferencing, and through visitations, depending on the circumstance.

Are volunteers still working?
We currently have a limited number of volunteers who choose to remain active visiting patients at Coastal Hospice at the Lake, at the Pam and Macky Stansell House, and in patients’ homes as requested by patients and caregivers. All volunteers have been screened prior to visits and are continuing self- monitoring practices. Volunteers choosing not to see patients at this time are still communicating with patients and or caregivers by telephone or with handwritten notes.

What will happen to the Taste of Finer Things fundraising event in April?
We are committed to rescheduling this very important event in early fall. The new date for Taste of Finer Things is Wednesday, October 14.

Is the Thrift Shop open?
Our thrift shop is temporarily closed effective March 23, 2020 until further notice.