Governor Murphy’s Executive Order No. 20-026 contains the rules for visitation in skilled nursing facilities, among other issues. Section III(4)(c)(3) provides in-person visitation opportunity for people who are deemed to be “essential caregivers.” What’s that all about?
An “essential caregiver” is ” an individual who was previously actively
engaged with the resident or is committed to providing assistance with
activities of daily living.” When the Administrator is deciding whether a person qualifies as an “essential caregiver,” “The resident must be consulted about their wishes to determine whom to designate as the essential caregiver. Consider persons such as a family
member, outside caregiver, or friend who provided regular care to the
resident prior to the pandemic.”
As a threshold matter, ” (1)All residents may receive indoor essential caregiver visitation in facilities where there has been no new facility-onset COVID-19 cases in the last
14 days AND the facility is not currently conducting outbreak testing per
the CDC guidelines.” Note also that ” (2) Residents who are on transmission-based precautions for COVID-19 should only receive visits that are virtual, through windows, or in-person
for end-of-life, compassionate care situations in accordance with NJDOH
Executive Directive No. 20-017, as outlined in this directive and in
accordance with CMS guidance with adherence to transmission-based precautions.”
For some residents, the “essential caregiver” was providing assistance with the Activities of Daily Living before the pandemic began in March — bathing, dressing, toileting, feeding, ambulating and transferring. They may have been providing the necessary supervision or cueing for a person with dementia. There may have been more than one essential caregiver.
For other residents, the ‘essential caregiver” is committed to providing those services. This could occur if the resident is in assisted living and requires one-on-one attention that the facility wouldn’t normally provide.
Scheduling is left up to the facility. The Executive Order specifies: “(8) Work with the resident and essential caregiver to identify a schedule of up to two (2) hours per visit, one (1) time per week, for the essential caregiver to be in the facility, if the facility is in phase 0. Facilities in
Phases one (1) or two (2) may allow for two visits per week not to exceed a total of four (4) hours per week. Facilities in phase three (3) may allow essential caregiving visitation under their regular procedures and per this directive.”
If the circumstances allow, essential caregiver can do wonders to relieve the terrible isolation being experiences by those in nursing homes and other facilities.
For advice about nursing care and elder care, call us at 732-382-6070