The State of Louisiana will allow New Orleans-based Heart of Hospice to transition its temporary inpatient unit devoted to serving COVID-19 patients to a permanent facility available to patients with any terminal diagnosis.
The hospice provider established the pop-up unit in April to accommodate an influx of patients infected with the virus, which has claimed the lives of more than 124,000 people in the United States to date, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.
“Though COVID-19 is still impacting our community, we recognize that a need for a hospice inpatient unit will exist far beyond the COVID-19 crisis,’ Carla Davis, CEO OF Heart of Hospice said. “We have been approved by the state to transition our pop-up unit into a permanent unit and are currently serving both COVID-19 positive and negative patients.”
Heart of Hospice opened the COVID-19 inpatient center in April with only eight days to plan, set up and begin operations. Heart of Hospice is a portfolio company of Evening Post Industries and cares for nearly 1,000 patients out of nine locations in Louisiana, with additional operations in South Carolina, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Mississippi.
The permanent inpatient unit is now one of only two such hospice facilities serving the greater New Orleans area. Now considered a hybrid facility, the unit will continue to admit COVID-19-positive patients, but will also provide care for COVID-19 negative, hospice-eligible patients who require a more advanced level of pain and symptom management than is possible in the home. More than 80 employees staff the unit, and the hospice anticipates that will hire 20 more.
Heart of Hospice indicated that it has served 7% of all COVID-19 related deaths in Louisiana to date.