Editor's note: Helping Hands is a Sunday column offering our area nonprofit groups a chance to talk about their work. If your group would like to be considered for participation, email jperry@dlnewspapers.com. This column is by Tracee Capron, executive director, Hospice of the Red River Valley.

Life has changed. The emergence of COVID-19 in and around our communities means we have all made changes and sacrifices to help slow the pandemic and protect those who are most vulnerable.

Some of the most vulnerable community members entrust us with their care. Hospice of the Red River Valley immediately implemented many extra safety precautions and changes to better protect our patients, their families, our staff and communities. This includes even more rigorous infection control practices, among others.

Our focus remains the same as before this crisis started: we are committed to caring for our patients, no matter the distance, no matter the circumstances.

We are witnessing firsthand the challenges COVID-19 presents to people at the end of life, and their families — especially those who are under highly restricted visitation. There is a need now more than ever for our added support. We are still on the front lines of providing comfort, care and hope during life’s most tender time and keeping people where they are safest: in their homes.

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We believe in-home hospice, palliative and primary care are essential health care services to help prevent community spread of COVID-19. Our care is specifically designed to serve acutely ill individuals wherever they reside. It’s what we’ve done for 40 years, and we will continue to help families navigate this crisis and beyond. Now more than ever, in-home hospice, palliative and primary care are crucial services for our community.

I am so proud of our exceptional staff members who continuously do what’s best for our patients and their families. As we operate with greater precautions, our staff continue to live our mission and deliver dignity, comfort and respect at end of life, in-person and from afar. In addition to providing care in our patients’ homes, we are also using technology to help our patients and clients who receive grief support keep in touch with their loved ones and support networks while respecting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s social distancing recommendations.

I’m heartened when I hear stories of how our staff members have cared beyond their job responsibilities to make sure a patient, client or family member has the support, tools and resources they need for gentler transitions. It’s these moments of humanity that provide us all hope that we’ll be alright. We will get through this, together.

We want to express our sincere thanks to our partners in care and all essential personnel who sacrifice their own health to provide care and help keep our most vulnerable community members safe. It’s an honor to work alongside you. Our work is more important than ever. Hospice of the Red River Valley is fully staffed and ready to care. Thank you for your ongoing support.

More info

Hospice of the Red River Valley is an independent, nonprofit hospice serving more than 30 counties in North Dakota and Minnesota. For more information, call toll free 800-237-4629, email questions@hrrv.org or visit www.hrrv.org.