As we mark two years since the COVID-19 outbreak, people are looking to 2022 with hesitation. The pandemic completely changed how we do nearly everything – especially for those of us in the healthcare industry. If the past two years have taught us anything, it’s how the hospice industry can adapt to a tumultuous landscape.
Let’s take a look at what 2022 is bringing for the palliative and hospice industry.
Virtual Care Will Remain At The Forefront
Over the past two years, telehealth has had a rapidly growing role in healthcare. Early on in the pandemic, providers had to transition to virtual care in order to effectively adhere to CDC guidelines. Telehealth also allows for more flexibility and quicker access to providers in a pinch. Thankfully, today’s elderly population is more tech-savvy than ever, making it easier to utilize virtual health appointments.
With no sign of the pandemic slowing right now, people are more apt to stay home and minimize their need for in-person doctor’s appointments or in-home visits. Telehealth is likely a trend we’ll continue to see into 2022 and beyond.
Safety is Crucial
While hospice and palliative care is already a highly regulated industry that has to focus on health and safety, the pandemic has heightened the need for proper patient and provider safety practices. We’ve seen a major push for in-home care in the height of the pandemic, making it even more important to have proper safety precautions in place.
Ensuring caregivers have personal protective equipment (PPE) has been a constant battle since the start of the pandemic. As new variants of COVID-19 emerge, proper PPE and social distancing measures are even more essential for both in-home and in-facility care settings. These practices also impact visitor policies, which can be especially difficult to navigate when a patient is receiving end-of-life care.
Vaccines Will Remain A Hot Topic
One major difference in 2022 is the availability of COVID-19 vaccines. The vaccines slowly rolled out in 2021 and continue to be a first line of defense when dealing with COVID. With widespread availability, we anticipate seeing vaccine mandates impacting long-term care when it comes to visitation and staffing. Providers may alter their visitation policies around vaccine requirements, which could also impact a family’s choice when looking at hospice providers.
Labor and Staffing Variables Will Continue To Impact Providers
Throughout the pandemic, all industries have been impacted by staffing shortages, especially the healthcare industry.
Some people have left jobs to become caregivers as daycares have closed or schools have moved to hybrid models. Others have realized they have new perspectives on what is important to them when it comes to work and have left jobs to pursue new interests.
The healthcare sector is still operating at nearly a 3% deficit. This is especially difficult in a stressful field that already sees higher turnover. In 2022, we expect to continue to see hospice and palliative care centers struggling to rebuild and maintain their workforce.
Hospice of Southwest Ohio Can Adapt
As COVID-19 continues to impact our industry, we will continue to see shifts in care trends. What doesn’t change is the compassion and comfort that Hospice of Southwest Ohio and CareBridge Services seek to provide patients and their families in their time of need.
Our Medical Director, Dr. Richard Sternberg said,
“The COVID-19 pandemic has enhanced our priorities like patient and staff safety, passionate and empathetic care, and continued focus on excellent outcomes for our patients”.
Hospice of Southwest Ohio offers hospice, palliative, and in-home primary care in and around the greater Cincinnati area in Clermont County, Butler County, Warren County, Hamilton County, Greene County, and Montgomery County. Call today at (513) 770-0820.