The entire healthcare system has been pushed to the limits, and beyond, during the past 18 months. The stress of delivering care during the pandemic has been compounded by the national shortage of nurses. While this nursing crisis existed long before the pandemic – for a myriad of reasons – it has become even more acute and is now having a crippling effect on our healthcare system.
While much attention has been paid to how this impacts ICUs and Emergency Rooms, hospice care – a nurse-driven practice – has been left out of the conversation. It is important to look at the effect of the nursing crisis throughout the spectrum of healthcare, including end-of-life care. When hospices cannot serve as many patients due to a lack of nurses, not only are patients and families denied the compassionate care and support they need and deserve at end of life, but the bottleneck of care upstream becomes more challenging as patients remain in the overly-stressed hospital system.
Lumina reached out to Paula Span at the New York Times to help shine a light on the impact the nursing crisis is having on end-of-life care. Together with other hospice and palliative care agencies in Oregon, particularly other community-based nonprofits, we hope to advocate for more coordination of our limited resources, and increased flexibility in nurse staffing, such as improved reciprocity with other states.
Lumina remains committed to its mission of delivering compassionate care and support to those facing end of life, and is monitoring patient caseloads daily to determine new admissions.
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