Family and close friends may now visit and provide care for their loved one residing in a long-term care facility or nursing home, upon approval from the health provider. A long-term care facility or nursing home may designate one or even two essential caregivers. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) released interim guidelines on December 2nd for nursing homes and other long-term care facilities on the appropriate use of essential caregivers to provide companionship and assist residents with activities of daily living.
According to State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville). “I have worked with the Illinois Department of Public Health for months to establish recommended guidelines for essential caregivers. I am glad to see the guidelines released. The pandemic continues to be very difficult for families and friends that have loved one’s residing in a long-term care facility or nursing home because until now, they could not visit and provide care for their friend or family member.”
As defined by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), Essential Caregivers (EC) are not general visitors. These individuals meet an essential need for the resident by assisting with activities of daily living or positively influencing the behavior of the resident. The goal of such a designation is to help ensure high-risk residents continue to receive individualized, person-centered care. The facility must consult the resident or guardian to determine whether the resident or guardian wants to designate someone (one or two people) as an EC. Essential Caregivers may be family members, outside caregivers, friends, or volunteers who provided regular care and support to the resident prior to the pandemic.
More information on the Essential Caregiver Guidance for Long-term Care Facilities can be found here.