As the largest serious illness and hospice organization in Maryland and one of the few with a dedicated inpatient unit, Gilchrist has quickly responded to the growing need for compassionate end-of-life care for those suffering from COVID-19. To address the needs of these patients and their families, Gilchrist opened a dedicated inpatient unit at our Towson center, provided care for home-based patients with the diagnosis, and partnered with area nursing homes.
Gilchrist staff have the expertise and dedication to meet this unique challenge. Our journey began by acquiring the needed personal protective equipment to protect our caregivers as they stepped into this challenge. The unit we developed is dedicated solely to caring for hospice-eligible patients with the virus. The staff on the unit provide care only in this unit to minimize the inadvertent spread of the virus. Gilchrist will continue providing inpatient hospice care for patients without the virus on another unit in the building.
The unit has a safety buddy and rooms for donning and doffing protective equipment. In addition to our work at the center, our home care teams are continuing to care for patients at home. They, too, have the needed protective equipment to keep themselves and our patients and families safe.
Our facility-based hospice and palliative care teams are assisting some of the area’s largest residential care communities with the treatment of their patients suffering from COVID-19. Our palliative care teams are working bedside to help patients with their advance care planning decisions and symptom management. Our hospice team is working side-by-side with our palliative care team for patients who would benefit from this care.
For those dying from the virus, Gilchrist is providing—as we always do—an alternative to a hospital death. Our interdisciplinary teams are trained to address medical, emotional and spiritual needs, and to allow patients to die with a loved one by their side.
Thanks to our incredible volunteers, we have enough cloth masks to provide one for each patient and their primary caregiver. This simple gift further allows us to help others contain this virus. Our family caregivers have to make trips to the pharmacy, to the grocery store and for other essential services. By providing these masks, we are taking one less burden away and keeping them safe to do the work they need and want to do—provide care to a loved one safely.
We are so proud of our bedside teams and their willingness to do what’s right for those who need us. We remain committed to caring for all people with serious illness, regardless of their ability to pay, including our patients who are suffering from COVID-19.
Gilchrist is a nationally recognized nonprofit leader in serious illness and end-of-life care. Serving 26,000 people in Central Maryland each year through elder medical care, counseling, and hospice, Gilchrist is the largest hospice and serious illness organization in Maryland. Gilchrist provides hospice care to 1,000 people each day in homes, in skilled nursing and residential care communities, and at our three inpatient hospice centers in Towson, Howard County and Baltimore City. Our centers are staffed by physicians, nurses, hospice aides, social workers, chaplains and volunteers, and offer round-the-clock care for individuals with pain and symptoms that cannot be managed at home or in a residential community. In addition, the centers provide care for those unable to remain in their homes.
To learn more about inpatient hospice care at Gilchrist, visit www.gilchristcares.org/inpatient-centers.