COVID-19 Updates and Community Resources

Montgomery Hospice, Inc. continues to support patients and families in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties with exceptional end-of-life care, grief support, and education. We have been serving this community since 1981, and we are here for you.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many unprecedented challenges to our lives. At Montgomery Hospice and Prince George’s Hospice, we remain steadfast in our commitment to provide the highest quality medical care to our patients—in their homes or at Casey House.

In response to the pandemic, we have put in place extensive measures to keep our patients, families and staff safe. This includes purchasing much needed Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including masks, gowns, gloves, deep cleaning of our office and increasing our technology platforms for secure virtual communication.

During these challenging times, we often look for sources of strength and resilience to help us navigate the unknown of this pandemic. We would like to provide you with organization updates and resources to support you and your loved ones during these moments of stress and anxiety.

The following guidance of many professionals brings – at a time like this – practical and timely advice and words of comfort to our community. We also welcome your support during this challenging time. Community support helps to ease the financial burden of unanticipated, but necessary, costs due to the pandemic.

Our Hospice Care During COVID-19

We continue to serve our patients through in-person visits. Below are some frequently asked questions about our hospice care during the pandemic:

Yes, we are providing hospice care during the COVID-19 pandemic. We continue to provide in-person visits that follow strict protection protocols.
  • Doing careful screening of all patients, household members, and staff prior to in-person visits
  • During in-person visits, requiring that all household members in the room wear a face mask covering their mouth and nose
  • Ensuring proper use of personal protection equipment when appropriate
Yes, we have the ability to utilize telehealth visits when appropriate and if it meets the needs of our patients and families.
Yes, hospice care is available for patients at facilities. Each facility follows their own set of procedures, and our staff confers with facility staff to determine the safest way to provide hospice care within the facility’s procedures.
Yes, Casey House is open, and we continue to care for patients and their families. To ensure the safety of our patients, their families, and our staff at Casey House, we maintain Visiting Guidelines for Casey House, and we follow strict protection protocols specific to our in-patient facility.

Safety Protocols & Visit Guidelines

A comprehensive overview of our screening process and visiting guidelines for Hospice at Home patients in light of concerns regarding COVID-19:

PRE-VISIT SCREENING:

Montgomery Hospice and Prince George’s Hospice staff will conduct a screening call before making an in-person visit. The following screening questions will be asked prior to providing care:

  • Have you or anyone in the home experienced any signs of COVID-19 in the past 10 days?
  • Have you or anyone in the home been tested for COVID-19 in the past 10 days? If yes, we will ask for results of the test. 
  • Have you or anyone in the home had close contact with anyone who has COVID-19?

VISIT PROTOCOLS:

While our staff is in the patient’s room for their visit, we request that presence in the patient’s room is kept to a minimum, with safety precautions established. This includes:

  • Maintaining a distance of 6 feet from staff
  • Wearing a mask or some type of cloth covering over your nose and mouth
 

Thank you so much for your understanding and support as we navigate this public health pandemic, and work to ensure the safety of our patients, families, community members, and staff.

A comprehensive overview of our visiting guidelines and safety precautions for Casey House in light of concerns regarding COVID-19:

In light of concerns regarding COVID-19, we are following the updated recommendations from the Maryland Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to ensure the health and safety of our patients and the community.

At this time, we are taking the following steps:

  • Requiring that all visitors wear a mask at all times (including inside patient’s room, when alone, and when sleeping) and maintain social distances of 6 feet from staff and other visitors.
  • 4 visitors at a time in facility, per patient.
  • 8 total visitors per patient, per day.
  • Only 1 visitor can stay overnight in the patient’s room. Visitor must be inside Casey House by 8 pm. No in/out building access after.
  • Children ages 5 and older can visit at this time.
  • Requiring all individuals entering the building to sanitize their hands at entry, and frequently throughout their stay.
  • Requesting that no visitor enter the facility if sick.
  • Visiting hours daily, from 8 am – 8 pm.

Thank you so much for your understanding and support as we navigate this public health pandemic, and work to ensure the safety of our patients, families, community members, and staff.

The following notice includes our strict protection protocol for clinical and administrative staff, updates from our Center for Learning, as well as tips to protect against illness:

As a healthcare provider and member of the community, Montgomery Hospice and Prince George’s Hospice holds the safety and trust of the patients we serve, their families, and our staff as our highest priority.

In light of the confirmed cases of COVID-19 virus in Maryland, we remain committed to following the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Federal, State, and local Health Departments to ensure we are taking comprehensive and appropriate actions when needed.

At present, our clinical and administrative staff follow a strict protection protocol that includes:

  • Constant communication with CDC and Departments of Health, and strict adherence of recommendations
  • Mandating COVID-19 vaccination of all Montgomery Hospice, Inc. employees and volunteers
  • Continuing our steady practice of handwashing for 20 seconds
  • Screening of patients and visitors for signs and symptoms of COVID-19
  • Ensuring proper use of personal protection equipment
  • Employees self-screen before every work shift for signs and symptoms of COVID-19, and do not work if they are ill or having symptoms
  • Additional communications reminding our staff and contracted services to share BIG SMILES and not handshakes, fist bumps, or hugs

This protocol will also include:

  • Additional cleaning and sanitizing of handrails, door handles, surfaces and common areas
  • Offering flexible time so employees who are unwell can continue to work from home
  • Consider other methods of communication and meeting to avoid close contact
  • Asking patients (when able) and family members to wear face masks during visits with our staff present
  • Asking family members to maintain social distancing with our staff when they are present in their home
  • Making sure that patients have the necessary amounts of medicine and supplies

The Center for Learning and Outreach:

  • All the face-to-face programs will be provided online until further notice.
  • In collaboration with our community partners, we will postpone, change venue, or cancel educational programs, participation in health fairs and outreach events if needed. We will keep monitoring latest developments to reassess bi-weekly.
  • Continue communication about events and programs with participants and speakers
  • If programs are kept at the request of a partner, we will ensure that our staff is aware of their prevention plan and strictly follow the best practices implemented at the facility.

While we continue to care for our patients and their families, this is what you can do to prevent getting sick:

  1. Wash your hands frequently for about 20 seconds with soap and water. Please remember that SOAP and WATER is still THE BEST DEFENSE to the virus.
  2. Cough or sneeze on your elbow or tissue, not your hands (dispose of the tissue afterwards and wash your hands).
  3. Do not touch your mouth, nose or eyes.
  4. Follow the CDC recommendations for prevention steps based on community level.
  5. If you have symptoms like fever, cough or shortness of breath, seek medical attention but call first.
  6. Stay informed of the latest information.
  7. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily.

CDC has published a website with the latest information. You can visit at:
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/covid-by-county.html 

We are partners in prevention and we will continue to collaborate with our community
to protect the wellbeing of those we serve.

Keeping Track of COVID-19 Cases Where You Live

Many state and local health department websites maintain updates on case counts and statistics in their communities. Additionally, there is a tracker through Johns Hopkins University. Here are three related to the communities we serve:

How You Can Help

Contributions from the community enable us to not only purchase necessary PPE and upgraded technology platforms, but they also allow us to respond to the increased need for Grief Support during this time of heightened stress. Due to the impacts of the pandemic, individuals grieving need more support than usual, since many at this time have grief complicated by isolation resulting from limited social interactions with family and friends or access to traditional rituals of mourning.

If you would like to help us meet the needs of our patients, their loved ones and the community, we welcome you to make a gift today. Your contribution—regardless of amount—will help to ensure our ability to be there for those who are grieving, as well as defray the unanticipated expenses of our new safety measures.

Together, we will make a difference in the lives of our neighbors and friends during an especially challenging time.

Resources

Advance Care Planning

Resources to assist you with advance care planning, especially now during COVID-19.

All households should:

  • Clean hands at the door and at regular intervals
  • Create habits and reminders to avoid touching their face and cover coughs and sneezes
  • Disinfect surfaces like doorknobs, tables, and handrails regularly
  • Increase ventilation by opening windows or adjusting air conditioning
  • Wash hands after putting away groceries, touching money, or handling anything that comes from outside the home
  • Always ask anyone entering your home to keep a face mask on, and to wash their hands upon entry

Households with vulnerable seniors or those with significant underlying conditions:
Significant underlying conditions include heart, lung, kidney disease; diabetes; and conditions that suppress the immune system.

  • Have the healthy people in the household conduct themselves as if they were a significant risk to the person with underlying conditions. For example, wash hands frequently before interacting with the person, such as by feeding or caring for the person
  • If possible, provide a protected space for vulnerable household members
  • Ensure all utensils and surfaces are cleaned regularly

Households with sick family members:

  • Give sick members their own room if possible, and keep the door closed
  • Have only one family member care for them
  • Consider providing additional protections or more intensive care for household members over 65 years old or with underlying conditions

Gatherings and travel around the holidays factor into the rise and spread of community cases of COVID-19. Some aspects that contribute to the spread include:

  • Exposure during travel
  • Number of people at gathering
  • Location & duration of gathering – indoor events are more susceptible to community spread
  • Maintenance of safety precautions before the gathering – having guests that have not been practicing social distancing, washing hands frequently, or wearing masks
  • Shared items such as food and facilities

Given the rise of nationwide cases of COVID-19, the CDC recommends celebrating holidays at home with the people you already live with. The CDC has put together some guidelines and recommendations regarding holidays, travel, and small gatherings, available here. More resources are below:

Emotional Support Resources:

Self Care

For community members, healthcare professionals, and caregivers. Tips on self-care for your lifestyle, resources from health organizations, and a video series from our Complementary Therapies department showing different ways to practice self-care at home.