For hospice patients, dying may be lonelier because of COVID-19 restrictions

For hospice patients, dying may be lonelier because of COVID-19 restrictions

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Capitoland signs

Kids at Capitoland Children's Center created signs that Agrace Hospice and Palliative Care plans to be put outside windows of patients at its facility in Fitchburg.

Agrace Hospice and Palliative Care, like local hospitals and nursing homes, is restricting visitors to try to reduce the spread of COVID-19, potentially making life lonelier for hospice patients who are dying.

But while Agrace is limiting visitors to one support person per patient each day at its inpatient centers, the nonprofit is trying to arrange virtual visits with other loved ones and makes some exceptions for patients near death, spokeswoman Liz Kopling said.

"When patients are at the end of life, our nursing team works with families on a case-by-case basis to limit visitors to as few as possible while respecting the family’s needs," Kopling said.

Operations at Agrace are continuing as close to normal as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic, she said. The nonprofit continues to see patients in their homes and care for them at its inpatient centers in Fitchburg and Janesville.

Agrace calls patients before home visits to screen them and ensure staff are equipped with protective equipment before entering the homes, Kopling said.

Grief support groups have been canceled. Managers of Agrace's four Thrift Stores, which are temporarily closed, are doing other work, such as screening visitors and housekeeping.

Kids at Capitoland Children's Center made welcoming yard signs that Agrace plans to put up on its grounds so patients can see them from their windows, Kopling said.


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