One COVID-19 Patient’s Long Journey from Home to the ICU to Home Again

Capital Caring Health Palliative Care Nurse Brings Comfort to a Patient and his Family 

On a recent Friday evening, Ron Kunihiro, of Gainesville, Virginia, played the ukulele and sang, entertaining his wife, daughter, and her family following an outdoor barbeque. There was nothing new about this scene—except for the wearing of face masks and proper distancing in the age of COVID-19. However, the fact that Ron was home at all was something of a miracle: The 78-year-old had survived the novel coronavirus following 50 days in a hospital—mostly in the ICU—and 31 days on a ventilator.

Families of patients with the highly contagious COVID-19 bear a huge emotional toll, as they are unable to be near a loved one who has contracted the virus. For those needing hospitalization, the situation is even more isolating. Family members are not allowed to visit—to hold a hand, to offer reassurance with words and the sound of their voice, or even to see how their loved one looks.

For the large Kunihiro family—three adult children and grandchildren—that’s where Capital Caring Health’s Steve Skobel, a palliative care nurse practitioner, made an enormous difference. As the liaison in the hospital between seriously ill patients and families, Steve became the family’s eyes, ears and even mouth, serving as an important link between the two.

Symptoms Develop, Emergency Room Follows

Ron is a fairly active guy for his age. He works out regularly on his recumbent bike and plays golf. In early March, he developed a fever—but felt fine—until about five days later when he became slightly short of breath after minor exertion. However, as Ron was unable to be tested for possible coronavirus, he quarantined at home in the basement to protect Sue, his wife of 55 years. When he developed a wet cough, his doctor recommended—via a telehealth visit—that Ron stay at home and take a course of antibiotics for bronchitis.

But nearly a week after the fever, Ron felt worse.

In a video call with daughter Cindi Harkes, Ron was coughing and short of breath. They discussed his going to the emergency room, Ron’s doctor agreed and suggested he drive himself to the local hospital which he did the next day. Once there, Ron was intubated, placed on a ventilator and transferred to the ICU at Prince William Medical Center in Manassas, Virginia.

It would be close to four weeks before Ron would actually speak to his family again.

New Knowledge, New Approaches

Ron was, in fact, among the first one or two COVID-19 patients at the Prince William Medical Center. And in those early days of March, doctors everywhere were still trying to understand coronavirus and the most effective treatments. With double pneumonia and not expected to survive, Ron was placed in a medically-induced coma. His family—deeply religious—started making arrangements for last rites.

Instead, as understanding of the coronavirus evolved, so did treatment. On Day 13, Ron was placed in a prone position—on his stomach—and he started to improve a little. A week earlier, Steve Skobel, N.P., entered the picture.

Steve works for Capital Caring Health—one of the country’s largest non-profit providers of hospice, palliative, and elder care—and he cares for patients in hospital inpatient units who need palliative or hospice care. In this role, he serves as the in-hospital liaison for patients with advanced illness and their families, promoting communication and understanding of their loved one’s condition. Palliative care also focuses on providing comfort and managing symptoms such as pain and stress.

Improved Communication   

As Ron’s nurse practitioner, Steve helped establish goals for his patient and saw him every day. Soon he was holding daily conference calls with the family after he had a chance to see Ron and review his chart. Ron’s daughter-in-law Amy Kunihiro—a California-based physician—often spoke or texted Steve before the calls, asking the questions which were on all of their minds.

“When I talk to families, I spend a lot of time listening to their concerns, what their needs are, what they are asking me for,” says Steve. Because he “met” with the family daily, he was able to anticipate what information they wanted and also to build rapport.

“It was so helpful that Steve was able to break down clinical information into understandable, digestible bits for everyone,” Amy says. “As a physician, I also appreciated having a dialogue with another healthcare professional about evolving treatment and recommendations based upon experiences in Italy and New York.”

Knowing they had a dedicated healthcare contact on site brought Ron’s family great relief.

“The daily calls were a ‘lifeline,” Amy continues, “adding important details on how Ron was doing, even when the news was not good. Steve would tell us ’Dad looks good today’ which was detailed description we desperately needed because we couldn’t see or hear him.

He also provided medical updates, forwarded questions and, most importantly for Cindi, “conveyed to dad the things we could not say in person.”

Despite the initial improvement from being repositioned, however, Ron experienced serious setbacks along the way, including dropping oxygen levels.

“The whole healthcare team latched on to Ron,” says Steve. “He was bed-bound for almost two months. There were many times, many days that I didn’t think he would survive to the next morning.”

But thanks to great care, faith, and his own resilience, Ron eventually began to improve. As he was brought out of the medically-induced coma, Ron flashed a thumbs-up sign to Steve and he was moved to an acute-care unit to continue regaining this health.

A Turn for the Better, Then Home  

On Day 42, Ron was finally discharged from the hospital. But there was one more stop before heading home: an inpatient rehab facility. Anyone who has been in an ICU and on a ventilator as long as Ron usually experiences serious consequences. And with the COVID-19 diagnosis, supplemental oxygen is also often on the list. As a result, most patients can expect a long stay in rehab for physical and occupational therapy to help with activities like swallowing, and speech therapy. Not so for Ron—he was discharged after only 8 days.

Now after four weeks of home health care, Ron is walking independently—only using a cane for support—and is back to riding his recumbent bike. “He’s trying to get back to normal” says Cindi. “It’s truly amazing the progress he has made from where he was.”

“It was our good fortune—and Ron’s—that nurse practitioner and our liaison was Steve,” says Amy. “He’s an outstanding nurse practitioner and human being, compassionate and in a class by himself.”

Adds Cindi, “Having a liaison or advocate is invaluable to the well-being of patients and families as communication can be difficult. And as in the best communications, it goes both ways. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.”

Steve, in turn, praises the family for their close involvement in Ron’s care and recovery.

“I chose nursing because I wanted to help people,” Steve concludes “and Ron was a very, very sick man. I’m so grateful I was able to help not only him, but his entire extended family through their shared ordeal. The Kunihiros are truly thoughtful, wonderful people.”

To learn more about palliative care, hospice and elder services, visit Capital Caring Health or call (800) 869-2136.


Drive By Birthday Celebration Planned for 105-Year-Old Army Veteran, Robert Cox

(Prince George’s County, Maryland, June 3, 2020) - The community is invited to join Capital Caring Health to help celebrate the birthday of one of our oldest patients, Mr. Robert Cox, who will turn 105 years old on Thursday, June 4.

Mr. Cox resides at Angel Assisted Living in College Park, Maryland. His team of caregivers have made special plans and invited guests to drive by his home, honk their horns, cheer and wave while Mr. Cox is seated on his patio during the celebration.

Members of the College Park Fire Department, military veterans and other volunteers will be in attendance to mark this special occasion. The Capital Caring Health team will also present Mr. Cox with a special patriotic blanket during the event.

About Robert Cox
Mr. Cox served in the Army during World War II and the Korean War. After 20 years of service, he left the Army in 1962 at the rank of Master Sergeant. He was married for 65 years. Mr. Cox loves jazz music, listening to the news on his radio, and he enjoys when the Bible is read to him.

Event Details:

  • Event – 105th Birthday Celebration for Mr. Robert Cox
  • Date and Time – Thursday, June 4 at noon
  • Location – 3407 Marlbrough Court, College Park, Maryland
  • Please note: Social Distancing will be observed throughout this birthday celebration. Attendees are asked to remain in their cars or stand outside of their car with a mask and ensure 6 feet of distance from other individuals.

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About Capital Caring Health

Capital Caring Health is the largest non-profit provider of elder health, advanced illness, hospice, and at-home care services for the Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. area. We provide quality care where people live, supporting dignified, independent aging. For more information, visit www.capitalcaring.org or call our 24-Hour Care Line at 1-800-869-2136.

Media Contact: Amy Shields
ashields@capitalcaring.org
214-208-7942


America Must Do Better.

The senseless murder of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor and others of color throughout America’s past at the hands of those who took an oath to serve and protect all members of their community – leave us outraged and grieving.

America must do better.

We believe everything humanly possible must be done to root out racism.  Capital Caring Health was founded on the premise that we care for every soul in our community, we honor the diversity represented across all communities; and we treat everyone equitably – with respect and compassion.

We do not discriminate against any person on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, religion, diagnosis or medical condition, veteran status, ancestry, marital status, occupation, pregnancy, citizenship, or political affiliation.

We stand in solidarity with the Black Community. We pray for peace, safety and healing for our Nation. We thank our Capital Caring Health employees for continuing to live our Core Values: Patients and Families First, Always Do the Right Thing and Respect Everyone.

To fight against racial and social injustice, Capital Caring Health will be making a donation to an organization helping to permanently end these wrongs whenever and wherever they appear.


Dr. Hank Willner Joins Capital Caring Health Medical Staff

Serving patients in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties

Capital Caring Health is pleased welcome back Hank Willner, M.D., to its medical staff.

Dr. Willner is a graduate of Yale University College and Medical School and he completed his residency in Family Practice at the University of Virginia where he was the Chief Resident.

Dr. Willner most recently served as Chief Medical Director and Palliative Care Consultant at Holy Cross Home Care and Hospice in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Prior to joining Holy Cross in 2013, he was Medical Director and a Palliative Care Consultant at Capital Caring Health (formerly known as Hospice of Northern Virginia) from 2001-2013.

Dr. Willner is the Medical Consultant for the Hospice Foundation of America, and he has also served on Maryland's State Advisory Council on Quality Care at the End of Life since 2014.

Dr. Willner is active in teaching medical students and House Staff at medical centers throughout the Washington D.C. Metropolitan area, and he has served as a Clinical Assistant Professor of Family Practice both at Georgetown University Medical School and the Medical College of Virginia.

In 1980, Dr. Willner founded the Virginia Family Practice Associates, PC, in Fairfax, Virginia, where he worked in private family practice for two decades. In 2001, he changed his medical specialty focus to Hospice and Palliative Medicine, and he has practiced as a hospice and palliative care physician since that time.

His special interests include the Doctor-Patient Relationship, Medical Ethics, and the treatment of ALS.

His hobbies include spending time with his family and friends, exercise, reading mystery thrillers, and he is an avid golfer.

Dr. Willner provides care to patients throughout Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in Maryland.

If you or a loved one need help with pain and symptom management associated with cancer, heart disease, stroke, pulmonary disease, Alzheimer’s, ALS, HIV/AIDS, neurological diseases, and other serious and chronic progressive conditions, call Capital Caring Health’s 24-hour care line at (800) 869-2136.

Visit www.capitalcaring.org to learn more about the services we provide to individuals with advanced illness and the support we offer to their families.


It's Official: Everyone Loves Nurses!

According to a 2019 Gallup poll, nurses have once again been named “the most trusted profession” in the United States. That’s the 18th year in a row now that Americans have cited nurses for their “honesty” and “ethical standards.”

At Capital Caring Health (CCH), we couldn’t agree more. Our nurses are compassionate, kind, patient, good listeners, and knowledgeable…exactly the kind of people you’d want to take care of you or a loved one during a serious, life-limiting illness.

So while CCH officially observes National Nurses Month throughout May, our nurses are celebrated each and every day for their dedication to patients and families. A nurse may take on a variety of responsibilities at CCH, but their core focus is always on making sure that patients, families, and caregivers have the best care and quality of life possible.

That’s a major reason why Ana Smith, RN, became a nurse in the first place. Her journey began in Colorado where, as a young military wife, she first became interested in hospice care. After relocating to Virginia, Ana joined CCH as a hospice home health aide.

Yet a desire for a stronger role in patient care and for more challenges led Ana to nursing school. After graduation, Ana worked as an ICU/ER nurse and an HIV case manager, but decided to return to the hospice setting. Now in her 10th year at CCH, Ana’s experience demonstrates the many different roles a hospice nurse can fulfill: bedside nurse; clinical supervisor; case manager; liaison between hospital, family and hospice; and care navigation and triage.

“A hospice nurse helps in so many different ways, from managing patient symptoms to training families on how to care for a loved one to coordinating care. We also help patients and families know what to expect at the end of life, providing all the support they need. For me, that means having a direct responsibility in how patients and families are cared for and making sure they feel heard and supported each step of the way.”

That variety and flexibility are part of the appeal of working in hospice, says Ana, now a Triage Coordinator at the CCH Care Navigation Center. She adds, “The triage role allows me to work from home and field calls Thursday through Sunday. That allows me more time to care for my 10-year-old granddaughter while continuing to do the work I love.”

With COVID-19, hospice nurses are among those facing new demands–including a surge in the number of patients referred to hospice. While most patients are cared for at home, care may also be provided in at one of the five CCH general inpatient units at area hospitals.

Successfully dealing with the major challenges of the pandemic recently resulted in Ana and a colleague being named “Heroes of the Hospice” by the Care Navigation Team.  In her role at the Care Navigation Center, Ana helps to keep the operation running over the weekend. She arranges clinical visits, takes triage calls, and troubleshoots.

As a Triage Coordinator, Ana helps handle all calls that come in 24/7 from patients and families. They may be seeking a clinical visit for an urgent problem. Or, as in a recent example, it could be someone seeking reassurance like the mom who called at 1 a.m. because she wanted to talk to someone about medications for her terminally ill son.

Working for the Care Navigation Center can be intense, but rewarding. “Helping someone manage their symptoms and find a positive aspect at the end-of-life is what I’ve always wanted to be part of,” Ana concludes.

Ana recently attended a conference in Hawaii and is pictured above surrounded a flock of parrots.


Capital Caring Health Earns Accreditation from National Institute For Jewish Hospice

May 11, 2020 – Falls Church, Virginia – Capital Caring Health recently earned accreditation from the National Institute For Jewish Hospice (NIJH). The accreditation affirms Capital Caring Health’s commitment to serve Jewish patients and families in a culturally sensitive way.

Capital Caring Health is the only hospice organization in Washington, D.C., to achieve this accreditation, and is among only one other hospice organization to earn this accreditation in both Maryland and Virginia.

“Our organization is committed to meeting the needs of the diverse populations we serve,” said Tom Koutsoumpas, President and CEO, Capital Caring Health.

“We are honored to earn this important accreditation which allows our organization to provide an even greater level of specialized support and end-of-life care for the Jewish terminally ill,” Koutsoumpas added.

Accreditation from the NIJH required that leaders within Capital Caring Health including social workers, nurses, administrators and clergy/chaplains attend a national conference to gain an understanding of Jewish medical ethics in hospice care as well as Jewish aspects of consolation and bereavement. Additionally, NIJH required that CCH provide training on Jewish End-of-Life Caring and medical ethics to its 1,000-plus staff throughout Capital Caring Health.

“The NIJH training and education has provided our staff with an enhanced understanding of Jewish culture and unique aspects of Jewish grief and mourning,” said Altonia Garrett, RN, MBA, Vice President of Public Affairs and Strategic Partnerships, and co-chair of Capital Caring Health’s Inclusion and Diversity Committee.

Garrett added, “We are integrating our understanding of Jewish medical ethics into hospice care in order to provide the best possible care to patients and their families of the Jewish faith.”

NIJH has accredited and reaccredited 225 Jewish hospice programs in the United States. NIJH was established in 1985 and serves as a resource and educational center for hospices, hospitals, family service, medical organizations and all healthcare agencies, educating them to the issues and challenges of serving the Jewish terminally ill.

About Capital Caring Health
Capital Caring Health is one of the leading nonprofit providers of elder health, hospice, and advanced illness care for persons of all ages in the mid-Atlantic region.  A member of a national network of 70 nonprofit hospice providers, our mission is to provide patients and their families with advanced illness care that is second to none.  We also have special hospice teams serving children and veterans.  On an annual basis, we serve over 7,000 hospice patients and provide more than $3 million in charity care to those who are uninsured and have nowhere else to turn.  Almost 90 cents out of every dollar goes to caring for patients and their families. Our website, www.capitalcaring.org, is available in English, Spanish, and Korean plus offers 24/7 Live Chat.  Since the beginning of hospice care over 40 years ago, we have served 120,000 patients and their families in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

24 Hour Care Line:  800-869-2136 www.capitalcaring.org


What (Older) Women and Men Want

Since 1963, May has been designated Older Americans Month, an annual recognition of the accomplishments of those 65 and over. And one of the biggest accomplishments of the nation’s elders has been their staying power! When the tribute was first proclaimed, the average life expectancy in the United States was just under 70; today, it’s nearly 80.

What are we doing with those extra 10 years? Well, thanks to major advances in medicine, many older citizens are continuing to lead healthy, active lives well into their later decades.

And as people age, many discover what’s most important in life is also most often intangible—the comforts of home, the companionship of friends and family, a pet’s unconditional love, and the good health to maintain independence.

In fact, a 2018 AARP survey found that three out of four adults over age 50 want to stay in their homes and communities as they age. Moreover, there are clear advantages to aging in place: It benefits physical and emotional health, keeps a social support network intact, and even costs less than the alternatives.

At Capital Caring Health, we understand what older Americans want and hope for. And through new programs and services, we’re taking the lead to help more and more area seniors remain healthy and in their homes, as long as possible.

Primary Care at Home

Launched in January 2020, Primary Care at Home (PCH) helps elders age in place with dignity. Developed by Eric De Jonge, M.D., Capital Caring Health’s Chief of Geriatrics, the program provides direct care and support to those with advanced illness and their families, right where the patient lives.

Designed to provide peace of mind for both patients and families, PCH features a dedicated care team that handles all health care needs, including complex care, medication management, daily support services and transitions between different care settings. By keeping chronic conditions under control, we help you avoid unnecessary 911 calls and hospitalizations.

PCH BENEFITS  

  • House Calls: In the midst of the current pandemic, what could be more timely and valuable than seeing a doctor in your home?   If you’re older and have a chronic illness, you are more vulnerable to COVID-19, which makes staying at home a safer path.

Through PCH, our physicians, nurse practitioners, and social workers—all specialists in the care of older adults with advanced illness—come to you, providing the medical care and social support you need, right in your own home.  These days, all our providers are outfitted with PPE (personal protection equipment) to safeguard patients, families, and themselves. To provide easy access to medical care and increase safety, we also can offer new televideo service to see patients remotely when needed.

  • Advanced Mobile Technology: We can do in-home testing including blood work, X-rays, ultrasound, and more. We’ve also created an electronic computer portal so you or your loved ones can communicate with our team.
  • Coordinated Care, 24/7:  The PCH medical team is available by phone 24/7 for urgent concerns.  We also work with other specialists, to ensure that patients receive all the care they need, no matter the setting.
  • Family-Centered Care: We work closely with families to ensure that everyone understands the plan of care and is up to date on any changes.  We also provide education and training to family caregivers on specific health conditions, nutrition, and equipment.
  • No Costs to You or Your Family: PCH is designed to provide access to needed care for all seniors in our communities, regardless of income. To do so, PCH accepts and bills Medicare, Medicaid and other insurance for our services. There are no fees to join the program.  Standard co-payments do apply.

To be eligible for Primary Care at Home, you must:

  • Be age 65 years or older
  • Require some assistance getting to the doctor’s office
  • Have a chronic illness or disability
  • Live within specified zip codes in NW D.C./Chevy Chase, MD or Northern Virginia
  • Transfer primary care responsibility to the PCH team

For more information, visit www.capitalcaring.org/pch

Stay-At-Home Services

Beyond maintaining health, aging in place requires contending with daily life, such as preparing meals, housekeeping, and home maintenance. Yet the ability to do these necessary tasks may be affected by chronic health issues or impaired mobility. And many older individuals often don’t want to burden adult children or other family members by asking for assistance.

Capital Caring Health’s new Stay-at-Home Services, launching in June 2020, is a personalized, one-stop shop for scheduling and managing a broad range of care and support to help you remain independent and in your home. A CCH Care Coach will work with each program member, help put together a custom program and make weekly care calls. Depending upon an individual’s specific needs, the program will arrange for different types of assistance, such as:

  • Home meal delivery
  • Home modifications and upkeep
  • Transportation
  • Appointment management
  • Senior friendly telehealth tablets
  • Pet care and more

More details will be available on our website soon including information about the monthly fee schedule for our new Stay-At-Home services.

Aging Well with Capital Caring Health

With careful planning, older Americans and their families can make the practical decisions necessary to extend time at home, in comfort and with peace of mind. Call our 24-Hour Care Line at 800-869-2136 today to see how we can help!


Hospice Volunteers Lend a Hand in Unique Ways

Hospice Volunteers Lend a Hand in Unique Ways During COVID-19 Crisis
Students deliver plants to homes of families faced with the unimaginable loss of their child

On a normal day, many of Capital Caring Health’s 1,000-plus corps of volunteers provide comfort and companionship to patients by reading or singing to them, lending an ear, and providing in-person support to families who have lost a loved one. But the past five weeks have been anything but normal, as we are dealing with a “new normal” throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

As we adhere to social distancing guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Capital Caring Health Volunteers are currently unable to meet and visit patients in person. Now volunteers are answering the call to serve in new ways.

Students home from college are delivering locally grown flowering plants to the porches and stoops of families who recently faced the unimaginable loss of their child. These plants were grown by adults from the Rappahannock Adult Activities organization in Fredericksburg, Virginia. The students recently filled their cars with flower baskets that were delivered with special letters to families whose children passed away recently.

And volunteers are also assembling and delivering care packages to current pediatric patients that include books, games, repositioning pillows, light and sound machines, diapers, and COVID-19 information for children and with helpful links and resources to provide families with comfort and support.

“Families with seriously ill children are already facing a really difficult time,” said Tara Hoit, Director of the Capital Caring Health Children’s Program. “We are hoping to bring comfort and maybe even a little joy during this challenging situation, and our incredible volunteers are making it possible to send this virtual ‘hug’ to these families who have suffered the loss of a child.”

Learn more about supporting Capital Caring Health’s Emergency Relief Fund, which provides critical resources to cover the additional expenses that arise during these difficult times, at www.capitalcaring.org/emergency-relief-fund.

Photos of Capital Caring Health Volunteers in Action: Volunteers recently delivered 30-plus packages to pediatric hospice patients and their families to provide comfort and support and flower baskets to families who recently faced the unimaginable loss of their child.

About Capital Caring Health
Capital Caring Health is one of the leading nonprofit providers of elder health, hospice, and advanced illness care for persons of all ages in the mid-Atlantic region. A member of a national network of 70 nonprofit hospice providers, our mission is to provide patients and their families
with advanced illness care that is second to none. We also have special hospice teams serving children and veterans. On an annual basis, we serve over 7,000 hospice patients and provide more than $3 million in charity care to those who are uninsured and have nowhere else to
turn. Almost 90 cents out of every dollar goes to caring for patients and their families. Our website, www.capitalcaring.org, is available in English, Spanish, and Korean plus offers 24/7 Live Chat. Since the beginning of hospice care over 40 years ago, we have served 120,000 patients
and their families in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. 24 Hour Care Line: 800-869-2136 www.capitalcaring.org


COVID-19: Your Guide to Improving the “Home Alone” Experience

Let’s be honest, some days there are real advantages to being home alone. Dessert for breakfast? Sure. Staying up really late to watch a favorite movie? No problem. Working remotely while still in your PJs? Who’s going to know?

Yet with stay-at-home requirements now entering their fourth week in the Washington, D.C./Maryland/Virginia area, such formerly guilty pleasures are losing their luster and novelty. And for many seniors, being home alone has translated into just being lonely.

Even before social distancing, 43 percent of those 60 and over reported feeling lonely, according to a recent AARP-funded report. That’s not surprising, given that nearly 30 percent of all Americans already live alone. But now, even those simple social interactions that brightened a day—coffee with a friend or taking a class—are mostly gone, at least for the time being.

Nevertheless, we are social creatures, hard-wired for connections and community. In fact, staying socially connected affects our overall health and emotional well-being. So what are we to do?

Capital Caring Health (CCH) is ready to help, starting with the following ideas and suggestions.

Stay Connected

Try to spend at least 15 minutes of your day connecting with someone, whether a family member, friend, or neighbor. AARP recommends regularly scheduled phone and video calls, along with texts and emails, especially if you are a senior living alone. It’s also important to be in touch with someone you trust to share any feelings or worries you may have.

Eat a Healthy Diet
Eating a balanced diet including fruit and vegetables helps maintain your health, energy, and outlook. Conversely, an unhealthy diet can actually make stress and depression worse. Make sure family and friends know if you need help with grocery shopping or healthy meal preparation. If you are concerned about your ability to obtain food or groceries, please call 888-342-4774 or email stayathome@capitalcaring.org. We can help arrange home delivered meals during this crisis.

Get Your ZZZZZZZZs

Getting enough sleep is also important. While worry about COVID-19 and other concerns may be keeping you awake, you’ll improve your chance of quality sleep by not eating or drinking caffeine or alcohol too close to bedtime. Also, make sure your bedroom is dark, and place your phone out of reach. Cat naps and resting throughout the day can also help you recharge.

Exercise and Get Some Fresh Air

Exercise is great at reducing stress and improving mood. Depending on your ability, try seated exercise or yoga, or take a walk or bike ride…while maintaining physical distancing, of course.

Even just sitting on your porch or balcony can make a difference. Research shows that spending time outdoors and getting sun on your face are closely linked with happiness. If you can't go outdoors, just looking out the window at trees and clouds or photos of nature can help.

Be Mindful

A mind-body practice such as deep breathing, yoga, or meditation can also help you regain a sense of calm. UCLA’s Mindfulness Awareness Research Center offers pre-recorded Guided Meditation audio sessions.

Also try using this time to remain engaged in your interests or find new ones, on your own or virtually with friends.

Seek the Medical Care and Help You Need

Don’t let the fear of catching COVID-19 keep you from getting the regular medical care you may need. Under certain circumstances, CCH can assure that you get necessary medical care and social support services, without leaving your home, through such programs as Primary Care at Home, Stay-at-Home Services, advanced illness/palliative and hospice care.

Don’t Grieve Alone

Those grieving the loss of a loved one may be especially affected by COVID-19 if they are unable to say good-bye in person or attend a memorial with others. CCH counseling services and grief support are available by phone or via Zoom, at no cost, for anyone who needs us—whether you’re an individual and family in our care or a member of the community-at-large. CCH volunteers can even help you set up the technology to do virtual visits with us, as well as connect with others in your life.

Our bereavement support groups will resume, virtually, in May for those who have lost a partner, parent, or child. While there’s no charge, online registration is required. An online support group is also in the works for bereaved children to interact with each other and do a group craft project in real time.

Click here to learn more about support groups or counseling services. Or you can use our website live chat or call 800-869-2136.

We’re All in This Together

You may be alone in your house and unable to connect in your usual ways, but millions of people are sharing the same experience. Together, as a community, and with help from community-based CCH, there are ways to remain safe, engaged and calm, ready to mingle or dance or discuss a book…virtually for now, in person sometime soon! Call Capital Caring Health at 800-869-2136 or visit www.capitalcaring.org to find out how we can help.