While being stuck at home may be a new experience for some, Livingston Memorial Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice has been serving the medical needs of homebound patients in Ventura County since 1947. Home health visits are a safe and effective way to receive treatment for a chronic condition or recover from a wound or injury. Even though patients may be afraid to leave home due to the risk of contracting the virus, home health visits are safe. Livingston’s nurses are supplied with Personal Protective Equipment for themselves and for their patients and are highly trained in the prevention of infection and the spread of disease.
Physical distancing is difficult in providing home health care, but we doing our best to continue to provide excellent care to our patients and their families during the current crisis. We also have had to make adjustments to accommodate the needs of our staff.
As restrictions on who can enter skilled nursing facilities have tightened, our nurses have become points of contact for families unable to visit their loved ones. They’ve met concerned daughters in parking lots, and helped worried husbands make FaceTime calls.
Our speech therapists, grief counselors, chaplains and clinical social workers are available via phone call or video conference and continue to provide services. While a call isn’t the same as an in-person visit, it does provide a vital life-line for the patient and their family members. “One of the most important things we do as social workers is during a face to face visit, utilizing our “use of self” to provide empathy. We have quickly had to master how to do that over the phone!” reports Licensed Clinical Social Worker Amy Schafer. “I feel I am working now more than ever, and I am aware of my own compassion fatigue during this time. I am thankful I am able to keep working and help however I can.”
Stacia Sickle runs Livingston’s Grief & Bereavement Center in Camarillo: “Many people are isolated and our groups through tele-therapy are providing much needed support, connection, and affirmation. I’ve had several group members send me emails thanking me for making this possible. They look forward to the group knowing they will get to see familiar faces, receive the support they long for, and find their way through this challenging time. The really cool thing is they are sharing photos, linking objects, etc. because all those things are right at their fingertips. It’s been a very meaningful experience to provide this service and see the response and the positive effect it has had. In regards to grief counseling, although challenging by phone, tele-therapy has helped continue continuity of care. We are helping to normalize and validate a stressful event, providing helpful strategies to cope with isolation, anxiety, depression and of course grief. I am so proud of how we’ve been able to continue despite this virus and physical distancing. I am so grateful to have purpose at this time.”
Patients in need of home health care who forgo treatment out of concern of contracting the coronavirus can end up in the emergency room, further putting themselves in jeopardy. If you or someone you know is in need of home health care, call us at 805-642-0239 and our experienced staff will assist you in creating plan of care that is safe and works for you.
Livingston Memorial Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice