Hospice Providers Demonstrate Commitment to Serving Patients during Coronavirus Pandemic

Categories: Care and Leadership.


Hundreds of NHPCO member hospice and community-based palliative care providers sign letter.

Hundreds of hospice and community-based palliative care provider members of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) have added their name to the Commitment to Care sign-on letter. This letter demonstrates a groundswell of support from hospice and palliative care providers who are committed to serving patients and families impacted by COVID-19.

The release of this Commitment to Care letter follows NHPCO President and CEO Edo Banach’s attendance at the coronavirus briefing at the White House hosted by President Donald Trump on April 30, 2020.  President Trump recognized NHPCO for its role in protecting America’s seniors throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The President and members of his Administration focused on special Administration initiatives designed to address the unique needs of seniors and the seriously ill. The President was joined by Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Azar, Veterans Administration Secretary Wilkie, The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Verma, FEMA Administrator Gaynor, and Ambassador Birx who is serving as the White House Coronavirus Coordinator.

The Commitment to Care letter reads in part:

Patients impacted by the coronavirus rely on the interdisciplinary, person-centered care that the community-based hospice and palliative community provide. The hospice philosophy of care focuses on caring for the whole person by addressing physical, emotional, and spiritual needs, and is provided by an interdisciplinary team comprised of physicians, nurses, social workers, home health aides, chaplains, bereavement professionals, volunteers, and allied therapists. As more hospitals reach maximum capacity, patients continue to be discharged back into the community and the demand for symptom management and emotional and spiritual support grows.

The hospice and community-based palliative care providers who signed on to NHPCO’s letter are demonstrating their commitment to continue to treat patients, ensuring that patients do not die alone, and in some cases saving lives.

“I am proud that so many NHPCO members have been stepping forward to care for patients impacted by COVID-19 during this public health crisis. The hospice and palliative care community has faced similar unknowns in the past with the HIV/AIDS epidemic. We did not run away during uncertain times– instead, we chose to care for patients in need with honor and respect, and we will continue to fulfill that mission today,” said NHPCO President and CEO Edo Banach.

The Commitment to Care letter also highlights that hospice providers often serve as important community bereavement resource centers. Many hospices open their bereavement support services to those in the community beyond the customary family caregivers of the patients they have served. Providers have a history of offering support to communities following natural disasters, mass casualty events, other public health tragedies; they are now called upon to help communities cope with the loss and grief that is part of our nation’s experience from the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Banach’s statement shared with the Administration and echoed in a letter sent to Congress on April 28, 2020. NHPCO proposed that through existing mental health grant programs, hospices would be positioned to scale their grief and bereavement programs to meet the growing needs of those suffering from the trauma brought on by COVID-19 including veterans, frontline health care workers, and first responders.

As the attention of the world remains focused on COVID-19, NHPCO offers relevant and timely resources for community-based hospice providers serving patients and families where they live at nhpco.org/coronavirus.

For people looking for a hospice or community-based palliative care provider in their community, NHPCO offers an online Find a Provider tool.

Provider organizations continue to add their names to this letter. Download the NHPCO Commitment to Care letter.


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