Frequently Asked Questions

about Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Hospice

We know there is a lot of uncertainty in the world right now.  But, one thing is for certain... Lake Superior Life Care & Hospice has been there for our community for over 40 years and we will continue to be there when you need us most.  Despite this public health emergency, our team will be there 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, we continue to care for those facing life-limiting illnesses….. every minute of every day.  

LS-Hospice-Golden-Age-Ad---04-27-20-(3)

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic presents a challenging and uncertain time for healthcare professionals, patients and families in our community.

LAKE SUPERIOR LIFE CARE & HOSPICE is committed to providing information on organization’s response to the situation.

These frequently asked questions provide information about safety measures for staff, patients, and families under our care. As the situation changes, this page will be updated to reflect the latest information available. As always, please consult the CDC webpage, the State of Michigan Website, and the Marquette County Health Department for additional information.

image of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Our team members are trained and prepared to provide care should we receive a referral for a hospice-eligible patient who has COVID-19. Hospice-eligible patients with COVID-19 will be assessed based on hospice program supply of necessary PPE (N-95 mask, goggles or face shield, and gown) to ensure the safety of our staff, patients, and families.

COVID-19, like any other infection, requires an individualized approach to care. The LAKE SUPERIOR LIFE CARE & HOSPICE team works with patients and families to understand their wishes, needs and values, which become part of care plans so that care goals are honored and respected. The majority of patients near the end of life want to be at home and out of the hospital. We can generally manage patients in their setting of choice with supportive measures and care for symptom management.

The LAKE SUPERIOR LIFE CARE & HOSPICE team members are experts in managing symptoms commonly experienced near the end of life. Many of the end-of-life symptoms are also common with coronavirus, including fever, shortness of breath, and cough. LAKE SUPERIOR LIFE CARE & HOSPICE incorporates pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic treatments to help alleviate these symptoms while ensuring patient, family, and staff safety.

Older adults remain at increased risk of contracting COVID-19. Data also documents that 8 of 10 deaths from COVID-19 occur in persons over the age of 65. As such, older adults must practice caution by staying at home, performing good hand hygiene, and avoiding close contact with others.

LAKE SUPERIOR LIFE CARE & HOSPICE staff will continue to follow established screening protocols to monitor the risks of infection spread through each patient visit. Our protocols will continue to evolve as we strive to keep our patients, families and staff safe. As always, our team members follow all universal safety precautions and internal policies and procedures and incorporate US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), The State of Michigan and the Marquette County Health Department’s guidance regarding personal protective equipment (PPE). Appropriate PPE varies with each individual situation and may include gloves, masks, shields, and/or gowns. We also follow protocols and mandates from the facilities we serve, including nursing homes, assisted living communities, Trillium House, etc.

We are following safety guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and the Marquette County Health Department. We also screen staff and patients for risk of COVID-19 with specific guidance to decrease the likelihood of exposure for patients, family, and staff. LAKE SUPERIOR LIFE CARE & HOSPICE team members take their temperature twice daily and answer screening questions. Staff are directed to contact their supervisor and seek medical attention and not work if experiencing any of the symptoms or are not feeling well.

During a public health crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic, family members and close friends continue to provide daily care. Caregivers should develop habits and strategies to maintain their own health and well-being. This helps to both limit viral transmission and to avoid the ever-present risk of caregiver burnout.

Here are some key strategies and tips for caregiving in the era of COVID-19:

  1. Follow CDC-recommended protocols for personal and patient hygiene as also practiced by LAKE SUPERIOR LIFE CARE & HOSPICE
    Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds, especially:
    • Before, during, and after food preparation
    • After using the toilet, blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
    • Before and after treating someone who is ill
  2. Stay Informed about COVID-19, But Don’t Overdo It
    • Keep up to date on the state of COVID-19 in your area, but take “media-breaks” and utilize reliable sources of information—and don’t mistake social media opinion for fact.
  3. Take Care of Yourself
    • Your patient’s well-being relies on your ability to maintain your own. To be at your best, be sure to:
    • Eat healthy, balanced meals, keep a regular sleep routine, find time to exercise whenever possible, watch for signs of burnout (Caregiver burnout can happen in any caregiver-patient relationship, but the risk is heightened in times of increased
      stress.)
    • You may be suffering from caregiver burnout if you experience any of these problems: Hopelessness, Overwhelming anxiety, Depression, Sleep problems, and Difficulty coping with everyday tasks. Consider making more time for yourself when possible, check in with your Doctor or counselor or take a break for up to 5 days with support from LAKE SUPERIOR LIFE CARE & HOSPICE respite care (you can speak to
      our hospice team about this.)
    • Caregiving is a major responsibility, but it shouldn’t completely overtake your life. Use spare moments to listen to your favorite music, read, visit with a friend or family member, take a walk or work on a hobby.

For patients, LAKE SUPERIOR LIFE CARE & HOSPICE follows the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CMS) and the State and Health Department that are based upon many factors such as test availability, facility concerns, and the impact of a test result altering the care plan. For employees, test decisions are based upon their physicians’ judgment. Employees are screened each day before working with patients.

As always, our team members will do whatever we can to meet the needs of our patients and families.

Guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) requests that facilities ensure residents receive the necessary end of life care, which includes hospice. This recommendation enables hospice staff to visit and care for patients in facilities. Each facility has unique visiting requirements, and we work with our facility partners to schedule visits so we can take care of each patient’s needs. Please contact the facility directly for specific information.

LAKE SUPERIOR LIFE CARE & HOSPICE team members will be following all guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and local and state health departments. LAKE SUPERIOR LIFE CARE & HOSPICE is also following all facility-mandated visiting rules.

If the facility is not allowing family members to visit loved ones, they are also not allowed to come in with LAKE SUPERIOR LIFE CARE & HOSPICE team members. However, we can coordinate telehealth visits so that family members can do a video call with their family members while we visit. Please speak with your loved one’s hospice team for specific information about this.

LAKE SUPERIOR LIFE CARE & HOSPICE team members—including doctors, nurses, aides, social workers, chaplains, and bereavement specialists—are following all safety guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and state/local health departments. They are also following facility-mandated visiting rules.

LAKE SUPERIOR LIFE CARE & HOSPICE might limit the number of team members who visit each patient in person due to the scarcity of personal protective equipment resources, as well as to decrease COVID-19 exposure risk for patients and families. Team members will continue to provide support through telephonic visits, and we have initiated telehealth video calls as well.

Decisions about COVID-19 testing within a facility are made by that facility, depending on the situation.

These decisions are aided by input from the facility’s medical director, attending physicians, and state/local health departments.

At LAKE SUPERIOR LIFE CARE & HOSPICE, we are still actively recruiting volunteers. You can make a difference from the comfort of your home.

We have an immediate need for volunteers, who we will train, to make support calls to hospice patients and their families. Volunteers provide a range of services to our organization. Learn more.

Our mission and our commitment to this community have not changed. But, our needs have.

We are all doing all we can to ensure those in our care continue finding the safe, uncompromising comfort, care and expertise they deserve. That means protecting them by protecting the health and safety of our hospice workers. We are always grateful for any donations that support our patients and families through the patient care fund. You can make a donation online.