COVID-19 Restrictions Preventing Some Hospice Patients From Seeing Family Before Death


Tuesday, May 12th 2020, 9:42 pm
By: Sawyer Buccy


COVID-19 restrictions are preventing some hospice patients from being able to see their family in person before they die.

Hospice nurses said they are doing everything they can right now to continue to comfort their patients, who are dying without their loved ones by their side.

End of life care can look a little different right now because of COVID-19. Nurses at Grace Hospice are wearing PPE while treating patients whether that person is dying from COVID-19 or not.

“It is a calling and when you are called to do something like this you exceed at it,” said Nancy Brittain with Grace Hospice.

Nurses say the human touch and sound are incredibly important for someone who is dying so even though the nurses are wearing protective gear, they try to keep the experience human and genuine.

“Talking to the patient and hearing is the last thing to go and so being able to give them those blessings and family saying goodbye and that they are going to be okay,” said Brittain.

Whether a person is dying at home, in a hospital or a nursing home- every place has its own rules- which means some people are dying in facilities where family and friends are not allowed inside. Doctor Michael Gorman says these restrictions, make the jobs of hospice workers even more crucial.

"We are able to actually be there, by their side and hold their hands. We are available and willing to be there," said Doctor Michael Gorman.

"A lot of times what we have been doing is using FaceTime, so that they can see their loved one and say goodbye and say their peace," said Brittain.

A hospice workers’ job is not just to be there and help someone who is passing, be comfortable, but also to explain what is happening to their loved ones, whether they are in the same room or on the phone.

"Dying is not easy," said Brittain. "It is a privilege to be welcomed into the homes of these families and they become our family."