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COVID-19 Sheds Light on Hospice, Palliative Patients Non-Medical Health Needs

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed gaps in hospice and serious illness care that impact providers and patients alike, illustrating the need for change in care models to expand and address various social determinants of health. Some stakeholders in the hospice and palliative care space have called for updated public policies to close these gaps and provide stronger support of patients’ aging in place. Aging in place has been a priority for patients and families, and it has been increasingly important in keeping high-risk hospice and palliative care populations safe and healthy during the novel coronavirus pandemic. While critical in continuing to reach patients and families during a national health emergency, providing home hospice and palliative care has been challenged by roadblocks resulting from the outbreak. The pandemic has exacerbated issues around social isolation and loneliness for those remaining at home,” said Tom Koutsoumpas, co-chair and co-founder of the Coalition to Transform Advanced Care (C‑TAC). Fortunately, actions taken by [the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)] and Congress have allowed more people to have access to medical services remotely and non-medical supports like meal delivery. The hospice and palliative care community has gotten creative with service delivery and adapted very quickly to the situation, ensuring that those we serve are able to stay in their homes and communities where they want to be.”