In-Person Visitation Policy
Updated April 30, 2022
In-Person Visitation bill has been signed into law, creating Chapter 408.823, which is subject “In-person visitation.” 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 is at end-of-life. Essential caregiver visitors may be allowed entry into the community on a limited basis for these specific purposes. The Preserve will allow at a minimum in-person visitation for at least 2-hours daily under these circumstances. The 2-hour visitation will be between 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. with exceptions 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 by the community’s designee and the resident’s responsible party.
Procedures for designation and utilization of essential caregiver visitors.
1. The community will provide the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) with a copy of the community’s essential caregiver visitor’s policy and procedure, with the initial licensure application, renewal application and/or change of ownership application.
2. The essential caregiver visitor’s policy and procedure is available on The Preserve at Clearwater’s website.
3. The Executive Director will designate a key staff to support infection prevention and control training.
4. The community will set a limit on the total number of visitors allowed at any given time based on the ability of staff to safely screen and monitor and the space to accommodate the essential caregiver visitors.
a. Identify locations for visitation/care to occur, planning for residents in shared spaces and areas with minimal common space to allow 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 room if the resident is bedbound and for health reasons cannot leave his or her room.
5. All residents and/or POA/Guardian if 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 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, client, or patient objects:
a. End-of-life situations.
b. A resident who was living with family before being admitted to The Preserve 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. All visitors will be screened and checked into the community upon arrival. Check out when leaving and an electronic log will be maintained.
10. No more than two essential caregiver visitors may be designated per resident.
11. The policy 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 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. The community can require the visitor to comply with “community-provided” COVID-19 testing if, and only if, it is based on the most recent CDC and FDA guidance. The cost of testing will not 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. The essential caregiver visitors shall wear the same PPE that staff wear to provide care or services to the resident.
14. Any changes to essential caregiver visitor policies must be promptly communicated to affected residents and essential caregiver visitors.
II. To facilitate visits by essential caregiver visitors upon a request from a resident or friend/family member:
1. The resident (or their representative) will read and sign the policy and procedures. A written acknowledgement of the signature represents that the essential caregiver visitor will abide by the policies set forth in this document.
2. The essential caregiver visitor will complete training on infection prevention and control including the use of PPE, use of masks, hand sanitation, and social distancing.
3. The essential caregiver visitor must immediately inform the community if they develop symptoms consistent with a communicable disease within 24-hours of their last visit at the facility.
4. Essential caregiver visits may take place in the resident’s room, or a designated area determined by at the time the visitation scheduled is developed and agreed upon.
III. When an essential caregiver visitor is scheduled to visit, the facility will:
1. All visitors will be checked in and screened upon entry for Covid 19, if the visitor fails the screening, the visitor will not be allowed entry.
2. The community will ensure that the required consents, and training and policy acknowledgements are in place.
3. The community will ensure that the caregiver visitor has appropriate PPE if applicable.
4. The community will monitor the essential caregiver visitor’s adherence to policies and procedures.
5. If the essential caregiver visitor fails to follow the community’s infection prevention and control requirements, after attempts to mitigate concerns, shall restrict or revoke visitation.
6. In the event the essential caregiver visitor’s status is revoked due to the individual not following the community’s policy and procedures, the resident may select a different essential caregiver visitor who will be granted visitation rights upon proper vetting and agreeing to policies and procedures.