We are pleased to announce that we are creating a new Essential Caregiver program. Although social distancing and physical separation are still important to keep residents safe, we are taking steps to combat the unintended consequences of prolonged social isolation and to maintain overall health and well-being.
This new program was implemented effective March 17, 2021, per state guidelines and is a narrowly defined exception to visitor restrictions that may allow certain caregiving services to be provided by a personal caregiver from outside our community.
We ask for patience over the next few days as we design a program that balances the safety, health, and wellness of all who live and work here and for those who serve in the Essential Caregiver role.
We are providing some information to you in advance of this program starts so you have a better understanding of what it means to be an Essential Caregiver as well as the policies and protocols that will be in place for those who serve in this role.
Below are some of the criteria we will use as we evaluate and designate Essential Caregivers in our settings:
- Essential Caregivers will be determined based on consultation/assessment with our Administrator, Director of Nursing, Social Services Director, or other designated staff. Residents will be consulted about their wishes to help determine whom to designate as an Essential Caregiver. If the resident desires to designate more than one Essential Caregiver based on their past involvement and needs, we will work cooperatively with them to determine who will serve as essential caregivers and the schedule for those visits.
- Essential Caregivers can be family members, outside caregivers, friends, or volunteers who provided regular care and emotional support to the resident prior to the pandemic.
- Essential Caregivers may provide support up to two hours per day or until caregiving tasks are completed. Please know the facility may establish limits of the number of Essential Caregivers in the building or the length of the visits based on the need to keep residents and staff safe.
- Essential Caregivers will be actively screened for symptoms of COVID-19 prior to entering the building and must wear all necessary personal protective equipment while in the building. They must also perform frequent hand hygiene and maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet with staff and other residents while in our building.
- Essential Caregivers that are not vaccinated will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours of the scheduled visitation. They will be required to maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet, don proper PPE, and visits will be supervised to ensure the safety of our residents. If an Essential Caregiver, wishes to be vaccinated, the facility will attempt to aid in this process.
- Essential Caregivers will be required to complete the state-provided Essential Caregiver training and facility-specific orientation on proper PPE, handwashing, social distancing, cough etiquette, and signs and symptoms of COVID-19.
- Essential Caregivers will limit their movement in our building, providing care and support in their loved one’s room or designated space in our building.
- Essential Caregivers must inform us if they develop a fever or symptoms consistent with COVID-19 within 14 days of a visit to a resident.
With this new guidance, it is important to know that Essential Caregivers cannot take a resident out into the community except for essential medical appointments, must not visit a resident during a resident’s 14-day quarantine, and must not visit when a resident is symptomatic or tests positive for COVID-19 unless the visit is for compassionate care. Please know we do retain the right to restrict or revoke Essential Care status if the designated person fails to follow our established policies and protocols.
If you are interested in being designated as an Essential Caregiver, please contact the Administrator at the facility can also respond to any questions or concerns you may have. We will review each request to determine whether it meets the criteria of the state and meetings the resident’s care plan before any individual can begin serving as an Essential Caregiver.
We know that you share our concerns about efforts to keep residents in our community safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. While we welcome this opportunity to make necessary exceptions to the visitor restrictions, we must all continue to be vigilant. If, at any time, it is deemed unsafe for Essential Caregivers to enter the building—due to a rise in the number of cases in our community, either within our walls or in the broader community—it is our obligation per guidelines to revisit and reassess the program.
We recognize the concern you may have that not everyone will be able to serve as an Essential Caregiver. We also deeply feel the desire of our residents and their loved ones to be connected in a more meaningful way.
Please know we continue to provide outdoor visits, window visits, and visits through technology and encourage you to take advantage of these opportunities. We are working on a plan to re-open our setting to visitation once we receive updated guidance from the state and meet the requirements that will be specified in that guidance. We will keep you updated on the status of our re-opening and look forward to the day when we can warmly welcome all visitors back into our community.
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Your healthcare choice in Comanche, OK,
PO Box 126
Comanche, OK 73529