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Hospice helping those with relatives in lockdown facilities

| August 21, 2020 1:00 AM

Hospice of North Idaho is taking steps to meet community needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Being the experts in end-of-life care, Hospice of North Idaho has been working with Kootenai Health, Panhandle Health District and several long-term care facilities to assess the care and comfort needed for those struck with COVID-19 and other life-limiting illnesses,” a press release Thursday said.

Two avenues for hospice care have been initiated.

The Pandemic Response Team is comprised of hospice nurses who go into long-term care facilities and private homes to care for COVID-19 terminally ill patients.

The team will address patient needs, and educate patients, caregivers and facility staff members.

Working with staff members, the Pandemic Response Team helps families that are unable to see their loved one due to the facility lockdown status, the release said.

“They offer reassurance that care concerns are being addressed and all patients are comfortable and peaceful as they progress through their end-of-life journey,” it said.

Hospice of North Idaho, the community’s only locally owned, nonprofit hospice, is also opening an isolation unit at the Schneidmiller House. It will allow Kootenai Health to transfer end-of-life patients who are also COVID-19 positive to the Schneidmiller House to receive end-of-life care and comfort.

This will open critical care beds at Kootenai Health. It will also permit limited family members to be at their loved one’s bedside.

“As our community continues to address the consequences of the pandemic, the dedicated, mission-driven staff at Hospice of North Idaho will seek out ways to offer compassionate care, grief services and caregiver support wherever it is needed throughout North Idaho,” the release said.