To our community:
We are living in unprecedented times, and the situation seems to be changing daily with each new report from governmental and regulatory agencies. We have been blessed in Northeast Florida with lower cases of COVID-19 than many areas of our nation and the world, but I know we all agree that ongoing precautions are the best course of action. We are diligently developing new ways of ensuring the critical care that our community has come to expect from our organization. This requires an unwavering commitment to provide a safe environment of care for both our patients, caregivers, and families, and our staff members. To that end, I want to share some highlights of our recent advances.
As recently as last week one of our oversight agencies, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), announced that we could now begin using video conferencing (telehealth) to provide visits to our hospice, palliative, and pediatric care patients. This is one of the ways that they suggest we can mitigate the risk of infection while ensuring supportive care. I am pleased to announce that we were able to launch a telehealth application within 48 hours following the announcement, allowing us to quickly provide the compassionate care that has become our hallmark over the last 41 years. This does not mean we will not perform in-person patient visits. On the contrary, this is an innovative solution that will allow us to increase our contact and make certain our patients, caregivers, and families have the support they need. We also want you to know that all of our clinicians have been provided the necessary personal protection equipment (PPE), and are well-trained and tested as it relates to the necessary precautions to manage all infectious diseases, including the COVID-19 virus.
We continue to limit visitation at our freestanding inpatient units, also known as centers for caring, similar to what you are seeing at long-term care facilities and hospitals. To mitigate the risk of infection in an already critical care setting, we continue to screen each visitor, supply free handmade masks created by our volunteers to each visitor, closed our gathering areas, and asked that patient visits be limited to two people at a time except when the patient is nearing death. Our centers have always been unique in allowing families liberal visitation and access to their loved ones, and we will continue to work to ensure no one dies alone.
We also continue to post regular organizational updates on our Facebook page, and our designated COVID-19 page on our website at www.CommunityHospice.com which also features educational and training materials for our patients, caregivers, and families. And, we continue to maintain a regular cadence of communication with our staff, volunteers, board members, partners, patients, caregivers, and families to help with the fears and concerns brought about by this life-changing situation.
I want to thank you for the trust you have placed in our organization for the last 41 years. I am confident we will come through this difficult time as we continue to work together to take care of you, our community. We are stronger together because we are Community!
Chief Operating Officer