With the expansion of telehealth, more patients can receive quality care to control their symptoms in the comfort of their own home. Choosing this option typically requires you to have someone, perhaps a loved one, friend or neighbor, who is able to assume the role of primary caregiver for the duration of your disease.
If you want to avoid aggressive treatments and remain in your home, contact your healthcare provider now to find out what your options are. You can ask:
In the event that hospice care is not available, your doctor may be able to prescribe pain and symptom management (including oxygen) or refer you to a physician who can arrange for palliative care in your home, if such care is offered in your area. If you are able to remain at home with a COVID-19 diagnosis, doctors will still advise that you self-isolate from other family members, who will be counseled to come into your room only when necessary. This is important for their safety.
Healthcare professionals and loved ones alike are doing everything possible to try to ensure people are not alone when they die. For example, in the hospital, healthcare providers are working hard to be with the patient during those final moments and connecting them to their loved ones. Here are some ways people are saying their goodbyes to their loved ones:
Most people envision that they will die at home, surrounded by their loved ones. There is a certain intimacy to the moment that brings about closure. Families come together, learn what is important to each other and say goodbye.
These are precious moments that help to make a difficult time a little bit better. Those who have a severe case of COVID-19 are robbed of this precious goodbye with their loved ones. For many, the last time they see their families in person is the moment they leave for the hospital. That’s why we encourage you to do a “life review” now, and create closure while you can. There are several ways to do a life review:
Regardless of the option you choose, take the time to say what’s important to you before you leave for the hospital. There is no harm in sharing these sentiments now, even if in the end you recover and return home.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing is making a traditional funeral impossible, depriving families of that intimate time to grieve together. There are options that allow you to recognize your loved one and bring closure to their death, particularly if you were not able to be there in person:
For more information on memorializing your loved one in this challenging time visit the Pandemic Care Guide from Oregon Funeral Resources.
From Compassion & Choices:
From Other Organizations:
From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):