Hospice houses lead the way in a heart-breaking time of pandemic


This article about the hospice houses of Kansas City Hospice & Palliative Care appeared in the January/February 2021 issue of Healthy KC Magazine. Kansas City Hospice House and NorthCare Hospice House offer expert and compassionate care in a serene, family-friendly environment.

by Wanda Kelsey-Mendez

hospice and palliative careIn March 2020, the first COVID nursing home death occurred in the Kansas City area and as a result, hospitals began limiting visitors and most skilled nursing facilities went on lockdown. The COVID Task Force at Kansas City Hospice & Palliative Care had already begun to write protocols and search for PPE. Their mission to provide expert, compassionate care could not be ignored, even in a pandemic.

In most circumstances, hospice is provided wherever patients call home, allowing them to be comfortable in their final days. Immediate changes to already tight safety protocols were combined with quick implementation of telehealth with physicians, nurses, chaplains, and social workers.

“The 2012 report on Crisis Standards of Care from the Institute of Medicine, declared that ‘provision of palliative care in the context of a disaster with scarce resources can be considered a moral imperative of a humane society. That call to action was largely ignored in the first wave of this pandemic, but it is more real now than ever during ongoing threats of overwhelming local and regional surges in demand for palliative and hospice care.”

~ JAMA, September 21, 2020

Kansas City Hospice’s two hospice houses, however, would face a different challenge entirely. A hospice house is designed to provide short-term acute care when symptoms are too complex to be handled at home. Plus, it offers respite care when home caregivers need a break. What would happen if the family member of a home hospice patient contracted the coronavirus or a hospice house patient tested positive?

CONTINUE READING AT HEALTHY KC to learn how the hospice houses quickly adapted to the changing needs of patients and families.

“We have done so much to ensure the safety of our patients and families while preserving the sanctity of being there at time of death with a loved one,” states Paul Weddle, COO of Kansas City Hospice.

About Us

The mission of Kansas City Hospice & Palliative Care is to bring expert care, peace of mind, comfort, guidance, and hope to people who are affected by life-limiting illness or by grief. Our vision is that each person in our community is valued from life through death and each family is supported in their grief.

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