By Hayley Crandall
Seasons Hospice & Palliative Care have been working to protect not only patients but workers as well during the accelerating pandemic through extensive training and adhering to Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines, according to Tony Kudner, vice president, communications and public affairs.
According to Kudner, staff with Seasons Hospice & Palliative Care have gone through “extensive” training through the company’s Learning Management System along with weekly training videos and in-person competency training and mentoring.
Serious handwashing and usage of personal protective equipment (such as wearing masks) have been a main part of the staff’s training.
“We used these and other methods to train on handwashing technique,” said Kudner. “As well as how to safely don and take off other personal protective equipment.”
Seasons Hospice & Palliative Care has also created a hub for information for staff with experts able to be reached by a quick email to provide case-by-case assistance and training as needed, according to Kudner.
Much like other health care providers during this time, the company has had to deal with shortages regarding protective equipment, like masks, for staff but have been able to source what was needed.
“We have faced some shortages,” said Kudner. “We are glad that the government is working to help ramp up production as the situation progresses.”
Thankfully, staffing has not been a big issue for the company, and it is working to communicate and support any workers that may need it during this time. An employee assistance program is in place to help with communication within the company, said Kudner.
Seasons Hospice & Palliative Care have had some previous preparations for large scale emergencies like this, thanks to requirements from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), according to Kudner. CMS requires emergency procedures to be in place along with plans about infection control. Plans like this have influenced actions regarding the COVID-19 outbreak.
However, this situation is still unlike anything many people have seen, forcing the medical field and health care system in America to adapt as the pandemic progresses.
“It goes without saying that this situation is wholly unique,” said Kudner. “And we’re adapting to it along with the rest of the health system in the US.”
Despite the uncertain times, Seasons Hospice & Palliative Care is still welcoming volunteers. The company has been working to limit any chance of exposure and infection through check-ups via phone calls or working in administrative offices. In cases of volunteers physically seeing patients, they are practicing wearing protective equipment and washing hands.
“Volunteers are a critical and mandated part of hospice,” said Kudner. “And our care wouldn’t be the same without them.