Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care has launched a new technology platform to help alleviate the plague of social isolation afflicting patients alongside the COVID-19 pandemic. The new Crossroads Connections program is aimed at patients living in long-term care, where pandemic-related limitations have often prevented patients from seeing loved ones and hospice workers.
Crossroads Connections is a video chat application that patients can access from any web browser equipped with a camera or microphone. The system complies with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). All data is encrypted and no information is stored.
“The simplicity of our new video chat platform is impressive,” said Perry Farmer, Founder and CEO of Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care living in long-term care facilities to bond with their families. “
The hospice population was hit hard during the social isolation outbreak, as were seniors in general. Research has linked social isolation to an increased risk of early mortality in the elderly and critically ill patients.
Involving the family in caring for an end-of-life patient is an integral part of hospice services, and providers have been looking for solutions to combat isolation over the past year. Many have relied on telemedicine to connect with patients in nursing homes and other restricted facilities, and to keep patients in touch with their families.
Last December, St. Croix Hospice, a portfolio company of private equity firm HIG Capital, launched its InTouch Family Connection program to reduce the impact of isolation on patients’ quality of life. This program offers virtual family visits as well as education and personal protective equipment to facilitate face-to-face encounters.
“Many measures can improve the patient’s social integration. This can include structured video visits with family and friends, ”wrote Dr. Dan Hoefer, a doctor at Sharp Healthcare, in a report from the National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization. “Online video conferencing can support religious and other group activities. Incorporating physical visits after appropriate time or screening can also allow for limited face-to-face visits from family members and close friends. “