Florida Law Chapter 2022-34 (Senate Bill No. 988) was signed into law creating an “In-Person Essential Caregiver Visitation” Bill. This is intended to serve as a procedure for compliance with regulations set forth in Chapter 408.823, Florida Statutes. A resident may designate a visitor who is a family member, friend, guardian, or other individual as an Essential Caregiver.
The following are the procedures to be followed to identify Essential Caregivers for residents and the expectations. These procedures will be administered equally to all residents that request to have an Essential Caregiver, without regard to race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity and transgender status), age, national origin, disability, or veteran status.
Essential Caregiver visitors provide emotional support to help a resident deal with a difficult transition or loss, upsetting event, making major medical decisions, needs cueing to eat and drink, stops speaking, or end-of-life. Essential Caregiver visitors may be allowed entry into Communities on a limited basis for these specific purposes. The provider must allow at a minimum in-person visitation for at least 2-hours daily under these circumstances. At Tuscan Gardens, the 2-hour visitation will be between 8:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Exceptions may be made to the 2-hour visitation on a case-by-case basis for end-of-life residents. These exceptions will be discussed and agreed upon in writing with the Executive Director or Designee and the resident’s responsible party.
a) Identify locations for visitation/care to occur planning for residents in shared spaces and Communities with minimal common space to identify maximum time availability.
b) Provide outdoor visitation spaces that are protected from weather elements, such as porches, courtyards, patios, or other covered areas that are protected from heat and sun, with cooling devices, if needed.
c) Create indoor visitation spaces for residents in a room that is not accessible by other residents or in a resident’s private suite if the resident is bedbound and for health reasons cannot leave his or her suite.
5. All residents and/or POA/Guardia, when appropriate, will be asked if they want to identify an Essential Caregiver.
6. All new residents will be asked if they would like to identify an Essential Caregiver upon move-in.
7. All residents will be allowed to update as requested (in writing) the named Essential Caregiver of record within 2 business days of request.
8. Residents are allowed in-person visitation in all the following circumstances, unless the resident, or when appropriate POA/Guardian, objects:
a) End-of-life situations.
b) A resident who was living with family before being admitted to the provider’s care is struggling with the change in environment and lack of in-person family support.
c) The resident is making one or more major medical decisions.
d) A resident is experiencing emotional distress or grieving the loss of a friend or family member who recently died.
e) A resident needs cueing or encouragement to eat or drink which was previously provided by a family member or caregiver.
f) A resident who used to talk and interact with others is seldom speaking.
9. Use of the Accushield sign in/out device for signing in and out of the Community.
10. No more than one essential caregiver visitor may be designated per resident.
11. The guide need NOT prohibit essential caregiver visitor visits, if the specific resident to be visited is quarantined, tested positive, or showing symptoms of a communicable disease. Visits in these circumstances will likely require a higher level of PPE than standard surgical masks. The general visitation requirement that the Community has no new Community-onset cases of a communicable disease (for example COVID-19) is not applicable to visitation by essential caregiver visitors.
12. Tuscan Gardens is not required to provide for “Community-provided” COVID-19 testing if, and only if, it is based on the most recent CDC and FDA guidance. The cost of this testing cannot be passed on to the visitor.
13. Essential Caregiver visitors must wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) per Community’s Infection Control Policies. The PPE required must be consistent with the most recent CDC guidance for healthcare workers. All the Essential Caregiver visitors shall wear the same PPE that associates wear to provide care or services to the resident.
14. Any changes to Essential Caregiver visitor procedure must be promptly communicated to affected residents and Essential Caregiver visitors.
To facilitate visits by Essential Caregiver Visitors upon a request from a resident or friend/family member:
When an Essential Caregiver visitor is scheduled to visit, the Community will: