Hospices scramble for supplies amid coronavirus crisis

Local News
A patient is removed from a Riverside nursing home amid a COVID-19 outbreak in this undated photo. Hospice workers, who frequently visit such facilities, face a shortage of protective equipment. (Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times)

A patient is removed from a Riverside nursing home amid a COVID-19 outbreak in this undated photo. Hospice workers, who frequently visit such facilities, face a shortage of protective equipment. (Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times)

As deaths from COVID-19 mount across the country, a chronic shortage of personal protective equipment has heightened fears for the safety of hospital doctors and nurses who play a critical role in saving lives.

But similar challenges are confronting another important but less visible segment of the U.S. healthcare system: hospice workers who keep dying people comfortable at life’s end.

Nurses, chaplains and other hospice workers who tend to the terminally ill routinely visit patients in their homes or in nursing facilities, putting themselves at risk of contracting the virus or becoming vectors.

Like hospitals, some hospice providers have been desperately soliciting donations of masks, gowns and other supplies from the public and local businesses forced to close by official stay-at-home orders.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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