Our weekly list of news, reports, and information about home health and hospice care. Learn about new studies, trends, CMS regulations and more.
Allocating protective personal equipment (PPE) to staff has been an ongoing difficulty for hospice providers as they contend with dwindling supplies and increased costs as the coronavirus pandemic continues. Emerging technologies such as heat mapping are showing promise in helping hospices to identify geographic areas hardest hit by the novel coronavirus and in the greatest need of protection. Accessing PPE has proven to be among the most significant challenges for hospices during the pandemic. Providers have struggled to protect patients and staff in areas of greatest vulnerability amid product shortages and gauged prices. Some hospices have engaged heat map technology to help focus their procurement efforts as competition for PPE became fierce in an already crowded home hospice care market. “We needed a way to review the virus outbreak in relation to where our locations are, where our staff live and work, and where our patients are,” said Christy Jeffcoat, vice president of Medical Services America (MSA), a home health and hospice agency. “Our hospice agencies needed a way to proactively operationalize our book of business in this pandemic. The company needed a way to predict COVID-19 outbreaks and to allocate resources more appropriately. We discussed this idea with WellSky, and they went to work to create a valuable tool.”
BAYADA Home Health Care, the largest national nonprofit provider of in-home health care and support services will resurrect its most powerful and inspiring nursing recruitment campaign in the company’s nearly 50-year history of its nurses heroically serving clients safely at home. Known as “Heroes on the Home Front,” the campaign, which will supplement the company’s annual online resource for nurses titled NursesWeek.com, will air in markets across the country in an effort to pay respect to home health care nurses and inspire those who are greatly needed on the front lines—fighting against the COVID-19 virus—during this pivotal time in history. The revival comes as BAYADA’s home health care nurses are delivering care in the homes of over 25,000 clients each week. These numbers are expected to exponentially grow due to the health care industry’s trending increase in care delivered within homes and community settings, and due to the COVID-19 virus specifically in the following ways.
Homecare Homebase (HCHB), a software for home health and hospice, has partnered with MUSE Healthcare of St. Paul to offer enhanced hospice care during the most critical times of a patient’s care journey. The new product uses sophisticated modeling and machine learning to better predict, prepare and provide for hospice patients in the last seven to 12 days of life. The fast-growing, complex and sensitive hospice service area offers unique challenges for providers seeking to allocate resources when and where they’re needed most. The MUSE solution is designed to address a well-documented gap in end-of-life care and ensure that every patient transitions with exceptional dignity, comfort and attention.
It took American Family Care, an urgent care and primary care company headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, just 36 hours to roll out its telemedicine service, AFC TeleCare, after the COVID-19 outbreak struck. “We had been thinking about it and deciding when we wanted to venture into it (telemedicine)” prior to the pandemic, says Benjamin Barlow, M.D., the company’s chief medical officer (CMO). “We met on a Monday, and the next day it was a go.” Since AFC TeleCare’s launch in March, many of the calls the company has received involve medication management for established patients, Barlow says. If American healthcare does wind up getting divided into pre- and post-COVID-19 eras, the migration from in-person visits to telehealth ones will likely be one of the biggest developments on the right-hand side of the inflection. Population health experts and advocates have been eyeing telehealth for some time as a way to monitor patients, encourage healthy behaviors and increase adherence to medications.