Hospice of Jefferson County: “We cannot be lax about what we’re being asked to do as a community”

ABC50 NOW

JEFFERSON COUNTY, N.Y. (WWTI) – The leadership team at Hospice of Jefferson County is working to ensure all staff, patients and families have the resources they need during the coronavirus epidemic.

Director of Patient Care Andrea Paratore says the key to keeping patients and staff healthy is education.  The organization is receiving updated guidance often.  They are doing everything they can to make sure home care patients, caregivers and families are well informed with the latest information.

There are restrictions in place for visitors at the facility and in home care settings.  Only immediate family members are permitted and visitors are limited to two individuals at a time.

Patients and families are being screened over the phone prior to any necessary home visits and staff members are self screening prior to entering patient homes.

Family members are encouraged to screen their visitors, just as the staff is screened prior to every visit, and signage is posted to remind visitors to wash their hands and maintain social distancing.

Diana Woodhouse, CEO of Hospice of Jefferson County, explained that a great deal of time is being focused on staff in an effort to ensure they stay healthy.  Each staff member is being screened twice daily, recording their temperatures and checking for any signs of an upper respiratory illness.

Social distancing is being practiced in the office and all guidelines are being followed per New York State Department of Health and the CDC. Staff members that are able to work remotely are working from home and all meetings will be held virtually. 

Surfaces are being sanitized more frequently and they are encouraging people to wash their phones also.  Phones are used very frequently, so Diana recommends individuals wipe their phones down every time they wash their hands.

Social workers are making extra calls to families to check in on them and volunteers have been assigned to families who need extra support. Hospice of Jefferson County doesn’t have patients in isolation routinely, so the organization has been in need of personal protective equipment. Volunteers have been making masks for the staff.

Leaders at Hospice of Jefferson County are sending notes of encouragement to staff to thank them and stay connected.  Diana said they are using humor, when appropriate, in an effort to keep spirits up and improve immune systems.

“We cannot be lax about what we’re being asked to do as a community,” Diana said.

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