Written by Christi McCaverty, Hospice Volunteer Coordinator
What has changed? What has remained the same, and how for the sake of the
patients and families, have nurses been able to make it work?
Registered Nurses Patty Johnson and Maura Doyle share how their routines
have changed over the last seven months as they keep patient and family
safety at the center of their practice.
How has your day-to-day life as a Hospice RN changed since COVID-19?
It has created another layer of worry - making sure our patients and families
remain safe while we as nurses, are taking care of ourselves so we do
not increase the chance of getting and spreading the virus. So far so
good! -PJ, RN
Being mindful of social distancing and asking patients and families to
wear masks. Patients with memory issues are scared of the masks and shields
so it makes assessing them properly a challenge. - MD, RN
How have you and your patients and/or families dealt with phone calls and
FaceTime visits vs. in person visits?
We all appreciate being able to check-in virtually with our patients and
families while keeping the exposure to the virus down. It has been a wonderful
tool for patient care; however, I will always prefer real person visits. -PJ, RN
Most of my patients still want face to face visits, as they are not getting
out of the house and feel so very lonely. With FaceTime visits, I speak
mainly to family members or caregivers. Several patients with Alzheimer’s
or age-related dementia, do not understand looking at someone’s
face on a phone. - MD, RN
What has been the most challenging change for you?
Wearing PPE in the heat has been challenging. Face masks and shields really
hamper communication, but it is necessary to keep them safe. Hopefully
we can get back to normal soon, or maybe a new normal whatever that may
be. -PJ, RN
More frequent hand washing! Some families want you to take their shoes
off (which we are not supposed to) so we need to bring shoe covers just
in case. Going through sanitizing wipes frequently because we are using
them on the iPads after each visit as well as blood pressure cuffs, tape
measures, stethoscope and thermometers. -MD, RN
What do you do to wind down after a Hospice shift?
I have a family, four pugs and we love to hit the horse trails, hike, run
- I love nature, and being outside, it calms me down. So lovely. -PJ, RN
I try to be present with my son and focus on him rather than stress out
about what I didn’t get done, how many patients I need to see the
following day or if I will get another new patient. – MD, RN