Finding Comfort at the Suncoast Hospice Care Center

Lore Newton has been a certified nursing assistant for the past 23 years.

By LaShante Keys, Empath Health Community Outreach Specialist

ST. PETERSBURG — Over the past few months, families everywhere have had to relearn what it means to have a loved one in a care facility or a hospital.

Older adults and people with underlying health issues such as heart conditions, obesity, and diabetes – which have high rates of prevalence in African Americans – are at a higher risk of developing serious complications from COVID-19. Additionally, this virus spreads very easily, and current data shows that people who do not show any symptoms may still be contagious.

As a result, places, where this group receives nursing care for extended periods, have had to revise their visitation policies to minimize any possible exposure to the virus. In many cases, this means no visitors at all.

Because of its location inside of Bayfront Health St. Petersburg, the Suncoast Hospice Care Center South Pinellas, a member of Empath Health, is one such place that has had to limit visitation.

With family and friends adjusting to being unable to visit their loved ones, nursing teams are also adapting to fit the evolving needs of patients.

One such team member is Lore Newton, CNA. A certified nursing assistant (CNA) for the past 23 years, most recently in her career, she has been a part of the Suncoast Hospice team.

As a hospice health aide, she helps her patients meet the needs of everyday living. This can include everything from bathing and feeding to checking vitals and making sure they are comfortable.

“Being a CNA helps keep me humbled and focused,” said Newton. “A lot has changed recently, but it’s important we are still here for our patients.”

These days she finds herself doing more of the little things that can make a big difference. This includes safety precautions, like wearing a mask during patient interactions and doing what she can to boost someone’s day. That might be as simple as spending a few extra minutes listening to a patient talk about their grandchildren or bringing a favorite snack.

“I have one client, a long term patient, who has always liked pastries and coffee, so I’ll bring that to him,” Newton added. “Even though family can’t visit, we can still find ways to show that someone cares.”

That’s why she has made it a point not just to care for the clinical needs of her patients, but also to look out for their emotional well-being. These little comfort gestures all add up to a bigger picture: families may be apart, but no one has to feel alone.

Everyone is a part of the family at the Suncoast Hospice Care Center. And with every simple act of kindness, Newton is proving that together we can make it through anything.

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