Letter to the Editor from the Interim Executive Director, of Calvert Hospice

July 20, 2021

Letter to the editor from Interim Executive Director Sarah Simmons.

As most members of our community know, in September 2020 Calvert Hospice made the difficult decision to suspend operations at our Burnett Calvert Hospice House.  This was a decision that came after months of struggling with workforce shortages largely related to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Healthcare workers in our community and nationwide left the workforce in record numbers due to the strain of caring for patients during the crisis, as well as additional stresses caused by lack of childcare and caring for family members impacted by COVID.  Recruitment for qualified staff to care for residential hospice patients became nearly impossible.  These challenges were not limited to hospice, and have been felt across the healthcare continuum.  Unfortunately, the impacts of COVID on the healthcare workforce have not yet abated and continue to impact hospices across the state and country.

Despite these challenges, Calvert Hospice continues to care for patients in homes, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities throughout the county.  We’ve continued to provide bereavement support to members of our community who have lost loved ones, and our Palliative Medicine of Southern Maryland program continues to grow via consults at CalvertHealth Medical Center, all three Calvert county nursing facilities, and clinics at Calvert Internal Medicine Group.  Calvert Hospice has also recently been recognized by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) as the very first hospice in the nation to successfully complete its Quality Connections program – a program that recognizes hospices committed to providing the highest quality hospice care.

The Calvert Hospice Board of Directors are in the final phases of determining future plans for the Burnett Calvert Hospice House.  We are working with experts in the field of hospice management to ensure that we are serving our community in the best way possible, and hope to make final decisions no later than this autumn.  The Board and staff of Calvert Hospice are committed to continuing to use the Burnett Calvert Hospice House to help fulfill our mission of providing care and support to patients and families facing life-limiting illnesses in our community.  We recognize the immense value of the House, and we know that our community is eagerly awaiting more information about its future.

If you have any questions about Calvert Hospice programs or the future of the Burnett Calvert Hospice House, please feel free to reach out at 410-535-0892 or ssimmons@calverthospice.org.

Sarah E. Simmons, RN, MSN, CHPN
Interim Executive Director, Calvert Hospice