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Hospice care continues during COVID-19 pandemic

Hospice of Michigan is taking precautions to make sure families still receive the hospice care they need.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — While non-essential services in Michigan have haulted after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued a stay-at-home order Monday, the chief medical director of Hospice of Michigan ensures that their services remain in operation. 

"We are absolutely open for business. As a health care provider in the community, we do end-of-life care which is health care," says Dr. Michael Paletta. 

Under Whitmer's order, which was put in place to stop the spread of COVID-19, health care is considered an essential service.

RELATED: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issues stay at home order to curb coronavirus

Though they are still in operation, Hospice of Michigan has felt the impact of the novel coronavirus. The health care service has made changes to keep its providers and patients safe.

Paletta says Hospice of Michigan is following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's guidelines "very closely" along with those of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. The group is also screening the caregivers, patients and people who come into the patient's home for their level of risk for the coronavirus. 

"When we identify someone who is at an increased risk for exposure or symptoms that are suggestive of COVID-19, then we have internal protocols that we use primarily to protect our own workforce," Paletta says. 

He says they do that by using personal protective equipment, like eye wear, different types of face masks, gowns and gloves. 

Paletta wants to ensure families of loved ones in hospice care that the healthcare workers know how to protect and properly equip themselves to avoid putting patients at risk. 

"If you have any questions about COVID-19 exposure, end-of-life care, and policies and procedures, contact us through our website or our 24/7 contact center to talk to a registered nurse," Paletta says. 

STATE RECOMMENDATIONS FOR COVID-19

Patients with confirmed infection have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

The best prevention for viruses, such as influenza, the common cold or COVID-19 is to:

  • If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19, call your health care provider. If you do not have a health care provider, call the nearest hospital.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. If not available, use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or upper sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • If you are sick, stay home, and avoid contact with others.
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from others when in a public setting.

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