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Bridging Isolation at End of Life

When faced with a terminal diagnosis, most patients prefer comfort, relief and care at home with loved ones. For patients in the final stages of COVID-19, however, transferring home from the hospital was not easy. VNSNY Hospice nurse Alisa G. went to great lengths to see that Rafael * made it home from Staten Island’s Richmond University Medical Center so that he could take his final breaths with his wife by his side. “They had made a pact to always be there for each other,” said Alisa, who also arranged for a crisis care nurse to support the wife at home. “In the end, she said to me, ‘God bless you. You’re an angel.’”

Most often VNSNY Hospice provides care in the home, but it also cares for patients in hospitals, nursing homes and other residential settings. VNSNY Hospice liaisons like Alisa are based in New York City’s hospitals, and during the COVID-19 pandemic they found ways to connect families and their hospitalized loved ones who are at the end of life. Our Hospice liaisons have arranged for FaceTime goodbyes, held patients’ hands, and one nurse liaison blew a final kiss to a dying mother at a daughter’s request—so that no one would be alone in their final days.

“There’s never been a greater need for hospice services,” said Diane L., a VNSNY Hospice nurse liaison working at NYU Langone Hospital–Brooklyn. “Every little step we take to give comfort, reduce symptoms, and give families emotional support is so important. It’s what we do…it’s what we have to do.”

 *Patient and family names have been changed to protect privacy

Help bring care to those at end of life like Rafael with a gift to VNSNY’s Hospice and Palliative Care Program.

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