Impact of COVID on Hospice Care

March 19, 2021


Will COVID patients get hospice care? People with serious terminal illnesses having a life expectancy of fewer than six months would opt for hospice care. So, patients in hospice would focus more on quality of life and comfort during the time they have at hand. However, the emphasis on physical distancing for ‘flattening the curve’ and reducing the virus's spread after the pandemic could imply the need for modifications in certain aspects of hospice care. Let us look at how hospice care services & hospice care service providers would adapt to the changing healthcare landscape.

Changes in Hospice Care Due to COVID

First of all, let us look at the changes in the delivery of hospice care in the United States. Generally, patients were enrolled by a nurse from a hospice agency after a referral from their physician. The interdisciplinary team of providers, including physicians, aides, nurses, volunteers, chaplains, and social workers, visit the patients periodically to offer care and support for patients alongside their caregivers. Now, you can find the following changes in hospice care delivery after the pandemic:
  1. New changes for reducing the risk of exposure for patients, hospice staff, and their families.
  2. In-person visits are planned through enrollment or to deal with uncontrolled symptoms.
  3. Providers have to follow recommendations for personal protective equipment.
  4. Additional services, including spiritual care, art or music therapy, and social work, must be delivered remotely.
  5. The local pharmacy must deliver medications to patients in hospice care. 
  6. Hospice support staff must be available at all times with skills and resources to manage calls and provide appropriate care.
  7. Hospice services in inpatient hospice facilities or nursing homes can implement new policies and restrictions for limiting visits from families and other healthcare providers.
Although the COVID pandemic has induced many changes as necessary precautions in hospice care, you don’t have to worry about missing out on compassion in hospice care.

Also Read: Palliative Care vs. Hospice: Explore the Key Differences

Managing COVID Symptoms in Hospice Care

Hospice care has also evolved to address different types of COVID symptoms. Patients in hospice care contract the virus generally as a secondary infection. So, the treatment of symptoms focuses largely on reducing discomfort.


Pneumonia is a common symptom in COVID as it causes severe breathlessness. Hospice care services use steroids for reducing inflammation of the lungs. In severe cases, patients are given opioids, and in less severe cases, antibiotics are the ideal option for treatment.


Patients with fever are treated with common, over-the-counter drugs.


Patients with mild symptoms of nausea are treated with ginger tea or jasmine for alleviating discomfort.


Almost one-third of COVID patients can develop diarrhea, which is generally treated with medication.

Also Read: Top 7 Myths About Hospice Care

So, which factors are holding back patients with COVID symptoms to opt for hospice care?

  1. The foremost reason is the fear of COVID-19 that keeps patients away from hospitals. As a result, there are lesser referrals to hospice care services & hospice care service providers.
  2. Nursing homes and palliative care facilities are hesitant to admit new patients.
  3. Most importantly, patients and physicians don’t deem hospice as an alternative for the hospitalization of COVID patients.
  4. In some cases, patients and their families could also hesitate in welcoming the hospice team due to fear of exposure.
However, patients and their families could easily trust hospice care for keeping away unwanted discomfort due to COVID. HOMECARE2GO app can help anyone find a reliable Hospice Company who is experienced in working with patients suffering from COVID infections.
HOMECARE2GO<sup>®</sup> Media Team


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