We are pleased to announce that Madison Healthcare Services is building a new program called Essential Caregiver – in accordance with guidelines released from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). This program will be designed to assist our residents who may have experienced disruptions in their normal care routines that were previously provided by a loved one or outside caregiver prior to the visitor restrictions required by state and federal guidelines due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Essential Caregiver program covers both the Care Center and those in our Housing with Services Program.
What is an Essential Caregiver
An Essential Caregiver is any loved one, representative, or outside caregiver who is deemed to play a critical role in the quality of life for our residents and tenants. These essential caregiving partners will provide additional support to our care teams by helping with activities of daily living and/or emotional support within our settings. It is vital that we remain vigilantly aware that these new care support options are for the sole use of caregiving and not to be viewed as a visitation model within our settings.
Our approach to safely implement the Essential Caregiver program will result in a limited number of participants as we launch the program. As we are able additional participants may become eligible to participate. Family of residents or tenants whose evaluations warranted the essential caregiver status have been notified.
Do Facilities Have to Offer this Program
No, long-term care settings within Minnesota may choose whether to offer the Essential Caregiver program within its setting. At Madison Healthcare Services, we recognize the critical role family members and other outside caregivers, such as friends, volunteers, and private personal caregivers, often have in the care and support of residents. For that reason, we are choosing to carefully implement the program to ensure that program participation will meet the ongoing health and safety precautions we have implemented over the past few months.
Ensuring the safety of our residents, tenants, and staff is our top priority, and we are committed to doing our best to implement a program that marries the need for safety with the need to provide opportunities that positively impact the emotional and social wellness of our residents and tenants.
The Essential Caregiver Program will Begin Monday, August 3rd
Realizing both the potential benefits and risks of allowing additional essential caregivers into the building, we will carefully consider the current status of COVID-19 in our setting and local communities on an on-going basis and reserve the right to suspend the program without notice if deemed necessary.
Essential Caregivers will be determined on an individualized basis. Each resident will be assessed by our interdisciplinary care team that includes social workers, nursing staff, recreation, and administration. If the resident/tenant meets the established benchmarks for participation in the Essential Caregiver program, then they will be consulted about their desires to participate in the program, as well as whom to designate as their care partner.
What is Required of Essential Caregivers
Essential Caregivers must agree to follow all necessary guidelines including the continual use of personal protective equipment (PPE), at a minimum wearing face coverings (masks) and eyewear, while in our settings. If an Essential Caregiver is seen not adhering to guidelines, they will be immediately asked to leave the premises and may be ineligible to continue participation in the Essential Caregiver program.
Essential Caregivers also will be required to limit their movement within our building, providing care and support only in their loved one’s room or a designated space. Additionally, all Essential Caregivers must participate in on-going infection control and proper use of PPE education on an initial and as-needed basis.
If an Essential Caregiver develops a fever or symptoms of COVID-19 within 14 days of a visit, they agree to inform us immediately.
What if I am Not Deemed an Essential Caregiver?
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. At this time, indoor visits in our settings are still not allowed per the Minnesota Department of Health. Please know we continue to provide outdoor visits, window visits, and virtual visits. We encourage you to take advantage of these opportunities to continue to engage in meaningful connections with your loved ones.
We ask for your continued patience and understanding as we begin to incorporate this new program that balances the safety, health, and wellness for all who live and work here and for those who serve in the Essential Caregiver role.
Thank you for sharing in our concern and efforts to keep residents in our community safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. We look forward to the day when we can welcome everyone back into our community.