Telehealth and Hospice Care

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Delaware Hospice is excited to be quickly expanding our telehealth visits to our patients and clients. Especially during the spread of Coronavirus, we are able to keep our staff, patients, and families safe without interruptions of care.

Everyone from our physicians, hospice nurses, palliative nurse practitioners, social workers, chaplains, and bereavement, including our children’s bereavement counselors, are able to use our telehealth system.

“This was an initiative that we laid the ground work for earlier this year before COVID-19 became an issue,” commented Rob Whitfield, Director of Information Technology for Delaware Hospice. “With the pandemic we have escalated our efforts, especially given the recent allowance by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for increasing telehealth services.”

“As a leader in our community’s healthcare, we always want to offer the maximum options when it comes to providing the highest quality services to our patients and clients no matter where they are located,” said Deb Kent, RN, BSN, MA, CCRN, NEA-BC, Vice President of Clinical Services for Delaware Hospice. “Our primary goal for using telehealth is to utilize technology as a means to provide much more immediate response to patient and family needs. A quicker response to symptoms, anxieties, and caregiving questions equates to higher quality care; patients and caregivers are more comfortable and less fearful.”

At this time, our telehealth program primarily relies on the technology devices and access of the patient, patient’s family/ caregiver infrastructure. As our community’s nonprofit hospice and palliative agency, we have a very limited number of technology devices allocated specifically for this program. Delaware Hospice’s intention was to increase slowly our available devices for families to use. With the need quickly changing, Delaware Hospice has been closely working with local, state, and national organizations and agencies to receive additional resources.

Deb Kent states, “The use of technology does not take the place of in-home visits when in-person is what is appropriate. Telehealth is an adjunct option. Albeit an option that is critical during this public health emergency and our goal to keep patients, families, and staff safe.”