Oregon health system closing hospice program amid nursing shortage

Grande Ronde Hospital and Clinics in La Grande, Ore., is closing its hospice care program, the health system said May 27.

The closure, slated for June, does not affect Grande Ronde's home healthcare services program.

"Our community is not exempt from the serious national shortage on healthcare workers," Jeremy Davis, Grande Ronde's president and CEO said in a news release. "Over the past year, it has become increasingly difficult to find nursing staff to support our hospice program. Director of Home Care Services Selina Shaffer, RN, and her team have worked hard to recruit and keep the program alive. On behalf of the organization, I appreciate the exhaustive efforts they have made." 

Ms. Shaffer also cited workforce issues.

She said in the news release that the closure decision was not made lightly, but "the fallout from COVID-19 has changed the workforce landscape, and we are no longer immune to that reality in Union County. At some point, we had to acknowledge that. We also knew this change would allow us to focus our efforts on providing the much-needed home health care that our patients and community have come to expect from us."

Grande Ronde has provided hospice care service since the 1980s. 

Officials said efforts are being made to ensure a smooth transition for patients to other local hospice caregivers, and the health system intends to keep high standards for care in its home healthcare services program.

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