Hospice and Homecare Challenges

Work Setting: Hospice and Homecare

Kristin Kalpinski

As a hospice and home care social worker I have observed the toll COVID has taken on family and friends. Due to working in a healthcare agency, we are limited with face to face visits at a time our patients need us most for emotional support. In particular, it has been gut wrenching to see families who are no longer able to see their loved ones in nursing homes and assisted living when they are at the end of life.

Many patients do not understand this virus and why they cannot see their loved ones except through a window or on the phone. Also finding emergency placements for homecare and hospice patients has been challenging as a social worker as many facilities are not accepting admissions right now. This becomes more of a challenge then for families who need support.

Outside supportive home care agencies also are limited with visits so therefore there have been very few resources available to help caregivers avoid burnout. In addition to patient care, our staff (particularly RN’s) are working long hours to meet the needs of the patients while attempting to avoid burnout. There is no such thing as self care right now for these staff.

As a social worker watching all of this unfold, it has taken a toll on me emotionally as my heart breaks for my patients and families. All of my social work coworkers are working from home and are supporting each other via email as best as we can. This is an extremely tough situation but we are all in it together and working in the best interest of the patient and families!