Essential Care Giver (Key Visitor) Status

Essential Care Giver Status

Do you have a loved one in a Care Home?

Government Guidance and CQC Visiting Rights State:

Care Homes should inform residents and relatives that residents have the right to request an Essential Care Giver (Key Visitor) who:

  • May continue to visit even during a COVID outbreak.
  • Must follow infection control methods.
  • Can provide companionship for their loved one.

Your frequently asked questions are answered by the Relatives and Residents Association:

Myth-Buster

Myth:

“It’s too risky to allow people to come in.”

Fact:

Feeling anxious is natural. However, given that essential care givers will only be visiting one person and have limited access to the home, the risks will be minimised. They will also have to follow the same robust Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) procedures and testing regimes as staff which further reduces the risk.

Myth:

“It will take up too much staff time.”

Fact:

Planning and risk assessing will take extra time, but families should be seen as a resource worth investing in. Family and friends can be a huge asset during an outbreak when staff may need to isolate. By supporting their own relative, they can free up limited staff time to deal with other residents. This could be part of your business continuity plan for outbreaks.

Myth:

“Only residents who meet strict criteria can have an essential care giver”

Fact:

No. The guidance states that ALL residents can nominate an essential care giver to help maintain their health and wellbeing. It is not dependent on who they are, how often they can visit, or whether they have certain health conditions.

Myth:

“It’s only for personal care.”

Fact:

No. The term ‘essential care giver’ can be misleading, but current guidance is clear that an essential care giver can be simply someone who provides companionship, and all the enormous benefits to wellbeing that this brings.

Myth:

“Essential care giver visits need to stop if there’s a COVID-19 outbreak.”

Fact:

Not correct. Although all regular indoor visits have to stop during an  outbreak, visiting from essential care givers can continue (unless the essential care giver or resident they are visiting tests positive for COVID, in which case visits must stop).