State Sen. Bob Mensch, R-24th Dist., has introduced a new piece of legislation that would allow for long-term care facilities to designate one or more “Essential Family Caregiver” per resident.
An Essential Family Caregiver is any individual 18 years or older, who, prior to visitor restrictions, was regularly engaged with the resident at least once a week, according to a press release from Mensch’s office. This would most likely be a family member, or could be another caregiver that has had the role previously who is not an employee.
The decision to designate an Essential Family Caregiver should be individualized and integrated with the resident-centered care planned, and would be at the discretion of the executive director of the facility upon agreement with the resident or their representative.
The legislation also states that a schedule and set amount of time allowed in the facility will be established and agreed to two hours per day. This allows for the facility to set the schedules for residents and potentially staged EFC times throughout the day, as to not make the facility flooded with outside visitors at certain periods of the day.
Currently, the policies in place limit the allowable interaction of families/ caregivers with their loved ones, seemingly prohibiting any level of care-giving. This bill would not change the visitation procedures already in place, rather it adds an element of caregiving which was previously unavailable.
“Before COVID-19, families had routines and daily visitations set up to not only visit their loved ones, but to also provide care on a daily basis. These routines were brought to a halt because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mensch said. “The goal of this legislation is to take down the barrier that exists between the loved ones and their families.”
This article first appeared as a post in The Digital Notebook blog.