Guidance for Infection Control and Prevention Concerning COVID-19 – Hospice Agencies

Mary Madison, RN, RAC-CT, CDP
Clinical Consultant – Briggs Healthcare

On March 9, 2020, CMS posted QSO-20-16-Hospice to provide guidance to hospice agencies to appropriately respond to COVID-19 concerns.

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The 7-page document provides information on these specific questions:

  • Which patients are at risk for severe disease from COVID-19?
  • How should providers screen visitors and patients for COVID-19 in a Hospice that provides short-term inpatient care directly or in an inpatient unit of another facility?
  • How should hospice programs monitor or restrict health care staff or hospice volunteers?
  • When a hospice patient is in an inpatient unit, what are recommended infection prevention and control practices, including considerations for patient placement, when evaluating and care for a patient with known or suspected COVID-19?
  • Do hospice patients with known or suspected COVID-19 infection require hospitalization?
  • When is it safe to discontinue Transmission-based Precautions inpatient hospice patients with COVID-19?
  • When is it safe to discontinue in-home isolation for in home hospice patients with COVID-19?
  • Can hospices restrict visitation of patients (in-patient unit provided directly by the hospice)?
  • What are the considerations when caring for a hospice patient in their home?
  • What Personal Protective Equipment should hospice staff routinely use when visiting the home of a patient suspected of COVID-19 exposure or confirmed exposure?
  • What are the considerations for discharge to a subsequent care location for hospice patients with COVID-19?

This notification also contains valuable hyperlinks to additional COVID-19 information.  It’s a must-read for all healthcare workers in hospice agencies.