Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQ
We know there are a lot of concerns in our community about COVID-19, the emerging Coronavirus.
At LCFL, we maintain preparedness for a wide array of infectious diseases, including new emerging diseases as well as regular occurrences like the flu. Below, please find answers to some frequently asked questions about COVID-19 and what we as an agency are doing to prepare for potential scenarios. Please note that this is an evolving situation, and information below will be updated as we receive new information from the CDC, state health organizations, and other partners.
- Bladen County or 910-862-6900
- Brunswick County or 910-253-2250
- Columbus County or 910-640-6615
- New Hanover County or 910-798-3500
- Onslow County or 910-347-3983
- Pender County or 910-259-1230
Alternative Number: 843-355-6012 ext. 3051, Monday-Friday
If you or your loved one are a current patient and someone in your home is experiencing new flu-like symptoms, please contact your case manager.
What We Are Doing
Due to the exceptional situation COVID-19 has created, Lower Cape Fear LifeCare has modified its usual visitation guidelines as we consider the health and safety of our patients, visitors, and team members a top priority:
Visitation hours are 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
All visitors will be screened prior to entering the facility. If visitors receive a positive screen, they will not be permitted entry.
ONLY 4 visitors per patient are allowed in the care center at a time. 2 visitors may stay overnight (8 p.m. – 8 a.m.).
- Visitors MUST wear a cloth mask/face covering per CDC guidelines while walking to and from the patient’s room, and when care center staff and/or housekeeping are in the patient’s room.
- Visitors will not be allowed to congregate in common areas. The must stay in patients’ rooms.
- Visitors must be at least 12 years of age.
Scientific research shows that preventative measures such as hand washing and wearing cloth coverings over the nose and mouth are effective ways to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our communities by lowering risk of exposure to COVID-19. Growing evidence shows that cloth face coverings, when worn consistently, can decrease the spread of COVID-19, especially among people who are not yet showing symptoms of the virus.
As a healthcare provider, the CDC requires that face masks be worn in our offices and hospice care centers. The State of NC has published FAQs about wearing masks here.
Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work to ensure continued patient care while assisting with our nation’s preventative efforts.
We are accepting donations of personal protective equipment, or PPE, for its clinical staff as they continue to ensure the safety of patients and families during COVID-19.
At Lower Cape Fear LifeCare we are continuing to provide care to patients with serious, chronic or life-limiting illness, in patients’ homes or in care centers. PPE donations will help staff as they continue providing care and support to patients, families and the community.
Helpful items of PPE include:
- Unused masks rated N95 or higher: 3M Healthcare or NIOSH approved preferred
- Gloves: Nitrile or non-latex preferred
- Impervious gowns: AAMI Level 2
- Unused ear loop masks and surgical masks
- Full face shields
- Medical/dental gowns
- Hand sanitizer
- Disinfecting wipes
Items can be dropped off at any of the following locations between 2 and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday:
- Lower Cape Fear LifeCare Administrative Office, 1414 Physicians Drive, Wilmington NC
- SECU Hospice House of Brunswick, 955 Mercy Lane SE, Bolivia NC
- Angel House Hospice Care Center, 206 Warrior Trail Road, Whiteville NC
- Horry County Office, 8216 Devon Ct., Myrtle Beach SC
- Bladen County Office, 103 E. Dunham Street, Elizabethtown NC
- Pender County Office, 16747 US Hwy 17, Suite 106, Hampstead, NC
Questions about PPE donations can be directed to Gwen Whitley, President and CEO, at Gwen.Whitley@lifecare.org.
We understand that living in the COVID-19 world isn’t easy; we’re here to help. We’ve launched LifeCareResponds.org, where you’ll find videos and other resources to help you get through this time. We have tips from our counselors for coping and for helping your children cope guided meditations, and information and resources about advance care planning, including a way to request a workbook to help you put your wishes in writing.
We have resumed some groups and events while cancelling others. We continue to evaluate our groups/events/meetings to ensure the safety of participants. Below is a complete list.
Grief Care Groups
We are currently offering grief groups in a secure, virtual environment. A schedule of grief groups can be found on our calendar.
Begin the Conversation workshops
We have resumed our Begin the Conversation advance planning workshops on the third Friday of each month, at 10 a.m., at our Home Office located at 1414 Physicians Drive in Wilmington. Attendees must wear masks and social distancing measures are in place.
Last Chance for White Pants Gala
As restrictions on gatherings were still in place during what would have been our planning period for this event, and an abundance of caution for further infection spikes, we determined not to host our largest fundraiser this year. If you would still like to make a gift to support individuals and families in our community living with a life-limiting illness, you can make a donation online.
Plans are to conduct our Fall Tribute Tile Ceremonies in the gardens of our care centers in Wilmington and Bolivia. Families dedicating a tile will receive an invitation in the mail.
Impressions Celebration of Life Tribute Dedication Ceremony
Saturday, September 18, 2021 at 10 a.m.
SECU Hospice House of Brunswick, 955 Mercy Lane SE, Bolivia, NC
Continuum Celebration of Life Tribute Dedication Ceremony
Saturday, October 9, 2021 at 10 a.m.
Lower Cape Fear LifeCare Home Office, 1414 Physicians Drive, Wilmington, NC
2021 Cape Fear Festival of Trees
Nov. 26 through Jan. 3
NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher
We are excited that we will be back at the aquarium this year. Tickets must be purchased in advance on the aquarium’s website. Online purchasing of tickets allows for guest limitations and social distancing inside the venue. There is no additional charge to enjoy the festival, which is open during aquarium hours.
We maintain preparedness for a wide array of infectious diseases, including new emerging diseases as well as regular occurrences like the flu. We have policies and annual staff training to addresses infection control, hand washing techniques, and employees staying home while sick. And our clinical staff have PPE (personal protective equipment) to use in case of an isolation situation.
To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, it is recommended that people get vaccinated with one of the available vaccines. This is especially true with the current rise in cases due to the delta variant.
Other prevention measures are to avoid close contact with people who are sick, cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash, and clean and disinfect frequently-touched objects and surfaces. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
If you are a patient receiving care in your home, or the caregiver of a patient receiving care in their home, we encourage you to limit the amount of visitors you have and keep in contact by phone where possible.
Scientific research shows that preventative measures such as getting a vaccine, frequent hand washing, and wearing cloth coverings over the nose and mouth when in public are effective ways to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our communities by lowering risk of exposure to COVID-19. Growing evidence shows that cloth face coverings, when worn consistently, can decrease the spread of COVID-19, especially among people who are not yet showing symptoms of the virus. The State of NC has published FAQs about wearing masks here.
(Click image to open full PDF)
Now, as we meet the changes and challenges of providing health care during COVID-19, TeleCare offers another option for Palliative Care patients. Patients can request that follow-up visits be conducted virtually by TeleCare instead of in-person, and receive care wherever they call home.
TeleCare is Easy and Convenient
- Visits are conducted by video and audio feed.
- You can use a cell phone, iPad, tablet or computer with an internet connection for the TeleCare visit.
- There is no app to download or program to install.
- Appointments are scheduled in advance, the same way as in-person appointments.
- At the scheduled time, you receive a message with a link to a virtual waiting room. You simply have to click the link.
- The Nurse Practitioner meets you in the virtual waiting room, and conducts the appointment using video messaging.
About the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Vaccine
Information from the CDC
The vaccine will help protect you from getting COVID-19. If you still get infected after you get vaccinated, the vaccine may prevent serious illness. By getting vaccinated, you can also help protect people around you.
No. None of the COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized for use or in development in the United States use the live virus that causes COVID-19. However, it typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. That means it’s possible you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and get sick.
Yes. CDC recommends that you get vaccinated even if you have already had COVID-19, because you can catch it more than once. While you may have some short-term antibody protection after recovering from COVID-19, we don’t know how long this protection will last.
The vaccine is available for children 12 and older with studies ongoing for children younger than 12.
Yes. COVID-19 vaccination is especially important for people with underlying health problems like heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, and obesity. People with these conditions are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19.
No. While you may have some short-term antibody protection after recovering from COVID-19, we don’t know how long this protection lasts, but the government is now recommending that those who received the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines get a booster shot after eight months. Studies are still ongoing on the J&J vaccine.Boosters will begin being available on Sept. 20, 2021.. Vaccination is the best protection, and it is safe. People who get COVID-19 can have serious illnesses, and some have debilitating symptoms that persist for months,
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two initial doses of vaccine. The first shot helps the immune system recognize the virus, and the second shot strengthens the immune response. You need both to get the best protection.
The J&J vaccine only requires one shot.
There may be side effects, but they should go away within a few days. Possible side effects include a sore arm, headache, fever, or body aches. This does not mean you have COVID-19. Side effects are signs that the vaccine is working to build immunity. If they don’t go away in a week, or you have more serious symptoms, call your doctor.
Because all COVID-19 vaccines are new, it will take more time and more people getting vaccinated to learn about very rare or possible long-term side effects. The good news is, at least 8 weeks’ worth of safety data were gathered in the clinical trials for all the authorized vaccines, and it’s unusual for vaccine side effects to appear more than 8 weeks after vaccination.
All COVID-19 vaccines were tested in clinical trials involving tens of thousands of people to make sure they meet safety standards and protect adults of different ages, races, and ethnicities. There were no serious safety concerns. The Pfizer vaccine has received full FDA approval for use and the Moderna vaccine is expected to receive full FDA approval soon. CDC and the FDA will keep monitoring the vaccines to look for safety issues after they are authorized and in use.
I am encouraging all recipients who receive the vaccine to enroll in v-safe. This is a smartphone tool you can use to tell CDC if you have any side effects after getting a COVID-19 vaccine. If you report serious side effects, someone from CDC will call to follow up. I will give you instructions for how to enroll.
About Coronavirus (COVID-19)
(Information supplied by the CDC, NC DHHS and SC DHEC)
- Shortness of breath
Seek medical advice if you
- Develop symptoms
- Have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or if you live in or have recently been in an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19.
Local health departments, the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS)/SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (SC DHEC), and the CDC are responsible for publicly reporting COVID-19 cases.
LCFL is committed to the privacy of its patients and complies with all applicable laws, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA). LCFL does not share patient-specific information with the media without prior authorization. LCFL collaborates with public health authorities, including the CDC and local public health authorities, as appropriate. These authorities are best positioned to provide public health information.
People who have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or people who live in or have recently been in an area with ongoing spread are at an increased risk of exposure.
Ask your doctor or your local health department (health departments and contact information are listed above) about being testing for COVID-19 through the NCSLPH if you:
- Have fever or lower respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath) and close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case within the past 14 days; OR
- Have fever and lower respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath) and a negative rapid flu test
If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough or shortness of breath) and may have been exposed to someone with the illness, please call your health care provider to seek care. Contacting your health care provider ahead of time will make sure you get the care you need without putting others at risk. Additionally, several South Carolina health systems are offering telehealth options to the public.
The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19. You should only wear a mask if a healthcare professional recommends it. A facemask should be used by people who have COVID-19 and are showing symptoms. This is to protect others from the risk of getting infected. The use of facemasks also is crucial for health workers and other people who are taking care of someone infected with COVID-19 in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
- Get a vaccine. Vaccines has been proven effective at reducing infection from coronavirus. While breakthrough cases occasionally happen, those individuals are extremely less likely to need hospitalization or die from the virus.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
Diseases can make anyone sick regardless of their race or ethnicity. People of Asian descent, including Chinese Americans, are not more likely to get COVID-19 than any other American. Help stop fear by letting people know that being of Asian descent does not increase the chance of getting or spreading COVID-19.
Someone who has completed quarantine or has been released from isolation does not post a risk of infection to other people.
For up-to-date information, visit the CDC’s Coronavirus disease 2019 web page.
While this virus seems to have emerged from an animal source, it is now spreading from person-to-person in China. There is no reason to think that any animals including pets in the United States might be a source of infection with this new coronavirus. To date, CDC has not received any reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19. At this time, there is no evidence that companion animals including pets can spread COVID-19. However, since animals can spread other diseases to people, it’s always a good idea to wash your hands after being around animals. For more information on the many benefits of pet ownership, as well as staying safe and healthy around animals including pets, livestock, and wildlife, visit CDC’s Healthy Pets, Healthy People website.
We understand that living in the COVID-19 world isn’t easy; we’re here to help. We’ve launched www.LifeCareResponds.org, where you’ll find videos and other resources to help you get through this time.
If you are a parent who provides necessary services to, or cares for, members of our communities and your child care has fallen through or is unavailable because of COVID-19 closures, call 1-888-600-1685 to be connected with the right fit for you and your child.
- Care options are for parents whose typical child care arrangements are unavailable due to school or child care closings and who cannot access other care.
- Options are available for infants up to children age 12.
Under the direction of Governor Cooper, the NC Department of Health and Human Services, the NC Department of Public Instruction, the North Carolina Child Care Resource and Referral Network and our partners across the state are working together provide these vital child care options.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA, a division of the US DHHS) Disaster Distress Helpline provides 24/7, 365-day-a-year crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters.
The Disaster Distress Helpline, 1-800-985-5990, is a 24/7, 365-day-a-year, national hotline dedicated to providing immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster. This toll-free, multilingual, and confidential crisis support service is available to all residents in the United States and its territories. Stress, anxiety, and other depression-like symptoms are common reactions after a disaster.
Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.
Messages for parents, school staff, and others working with children
As public conversations around coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) increase, children may worry about themselves, their family, and friends getting ill with COVID-19. Parents, family members, school staff, and other trusted adults can play an important role in helping children make sense of what they hear in a way that is honest, accurate, and minimizes anxiety or fear. CDC has created guidance to help adults have conversations with children about COVID-19 and ways they can avoid getting and spreading the disease.
General principles for talking to children
Remain calm and reassuring.
- Remember that children will react to both what you say and how you say it. They will pick up cues from the conversations you have with them and with others.
Make yourself available to listen and to talk.
- Make time to talk. Be sure children know they can come to you when they have questions.
Avoid language that might blame others and lead to stigma.
- Remember that viruses can make anyone sick, regardless of a person’s race or ethnicity. Avoid making assumptions about who might have COVID-19.
Pay attention to what children see or hear on television, radio, or online.
- Consider reducing the amount of screen time focused on COVID-19. Too much information on one topic can lead to anxiety.
Provide information that is honest and accurate.
- Give children information that is truthful and appropriate for the age and developmental level of the child.
- Talk to children about how some stories on COVID-19 on the Internet and social media may be based on rumors and inaccurate information.
Teach children everyday actions to reduce the spread of germs.
- Remind children to stay away from people who are coughing or sneezing or sick.
- Remind them to cough or sneeze into a tissue or their elbow, then throw the tissue into the trash.
- Discuss any new actions that may be taken at school to help protect children and school staff.
(e.g., increased handwashing, cancellation of events or activities)
- Get children into a handwashing habit.
- Teach them to wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing their nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.
- If soap and water are not available, teach them to use hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizer should contain at least 60% alcohol. Supervise young children when they use hand sanitizer to prevent swallowing alcohol, especially in schools and child care facilities.
Find more tips from the CDC here.
Many utility companies (electricity/power, water and sewer) have adjusted policies to work out payment plans or temporarily stop shutting off service for missed payments. Policies vary by company. Contact your utility provider if you are worried about making your utility service payments due to hardships from COVID-19.
Manage Anxiety & Stress (tips from the CDC)
The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Coping with stress will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger.
Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. How you respond to the outbreak can depend on your background, the things that make you different from other people, and the community you live in.
People who may respond more strongly to the stress of a crisis include
- Older people and people with chronic diseases who are at higher risk for COVID-19
- Children and teens
- People who are helping with the response to COVID-19, like doctors and other health care providers, or first responders
- People who have mental health conditions including problems with substance use
Stress during an infectious disease outbreak can include
- Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones
- Changes in sleep or eating patterns
- Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
- Worsening of chronic health problems
- Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs
People with preexisting mental health conditions should continue with their treatment and be aware of new or worsening symptoms. Additional information can be found at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website.
Taking care of yourself, your friends, and your family can help you cope with stress. Helping others cope with their stress can also make your community stronger.
Things you can do to support yourself
- Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
- Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs.
- Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
- Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
Call your healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row.
Sharing the facts about COVID-19 and understanding the actual risk to yourself and people you care about can make an outbreak less stressful..
When you share accurate information about COVID-19 you can help make people feel less stressed and allow you to connect with them.
Learn more about taking care of your emotional health.
Children and teens react, in part, on what they see from the adults around them. When parents and caregivers deal with the COVID-19 calmly and confidently, they can provide the best support for their children. Parents can be more reassuring to others around them, especially children, if they are better prepared.
Not all children and teens respond to stress in the same way. Some common changes to watch for include
- Excessive crying or irritation in younger children
- Returning to behaviors they have outgrown (for example, toileting accidents or bedwetting)
- Excessive worry or sadness
- Unhealthy eating or sleeping habits
- Irritability and “acting out” behaviors in teens
- Poor school performance or avoiding school
- Difficulty with attention and concentration
- Avoidance of activities enjoyed in the past
- Unexplained headaches or body pain
- Use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs
There are many things you can do to support your child
- Take time to talk with your child or teen about the COVID-19 outbreak. Answer questions and share facts about COVID-19 in a way that your child or teen can understand.
- Reassure your child or teen that they are safe. Let them know it is ok if they feel upset. Share with them how you deal with your own stress so that they can learn how to cope from you.
- Limit your family’s exposure to news coverage of the event, including social media. Children may misinterpret what they hear and can be frightened about something they do not understand.
- Try to keep up with regular routines. If schools are closed, create a schedule for learning activities and relaxing or fun activities.
- Be a role model. Take breaks, get plenty of sleep, exercise, and eat well. Connect with your friends and family members.
Learn more about helping children cope.
Responding to COVID-19 can take an emotional toll on you. There are things you can do to reduce secondary traumatic stress (STS) reactions:
- Acknowledge that STS can impact anyone helping families after a traumatic event.
- Learn the symptoms including physical (fatigue, illness) and mental (fear, withdrawal, guilt).
- Allow time for you and your family to recover from responding to the pandemic.
- Create a menu of personal self-care activities that you enjoy, such as spending time with friends and family, exercising, or reading a book.
- Take a break from media coverage of COVID-19.
- Ask for help if you feel overwhelmed or concerned that COVID-19 is affecting your ability to care for your family and patients as you did before the outbreak.
Learn more tips for taking care of yourself during emergency response.
Being separated from others if a healthcare provider thinks you may have been exposed to COVID-19 can be stressful, even if you do not get sick. Everyone feels differently after coming out of quarantine. Some feelings include :
- Mixed emotions, including relief after quarantine
- Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones
- Stress from the experience of monitoring yourself or being monitored by others for signs and symptoms of COVID-19
- Sadness, anger, or frustration because friends or loved ones have unfounded fears of contracting the disease from contact with you, even though you have been determined not to be contagious
- Guilt about not being able to perform normal work or parenting duties during quarantine
- Other emotional or mental health changes
Children may also feel upset or have other strong emotions if they, or someone they know, has been released from quarantine. You can help your child cope.
Support Our LifeCare Heroes!
Our team is stepping up to meet the challenges of COVID-10 – and they need your help. Your support will ensure our clinicians can continue to provide patients and families in our community the care and support they need when facing serious or life-limiting illness during this public health crisis. Support our LifeCare Heroes by clicking on the link below. Thank you!
Only 10% of our patients take advantage of the full Medicare hospice benefit which includes ALL medical care, medications, equipment and visits related to diagnosis.
To find out if you or someone you love qualifies for hospice, call 800.733.1476 or fill out the below form: