Gardenside, Cedarwood Beginning Essential Caregiver Program

JCH&L Gardenside and Cedarwood assisted living are excited to implement a new program called the Essential Caregiver Program.

“This is a first step toward providing our residents and tenants the additional family support they need,” said Deb Sutton RN, BSN, Gardenside and Cedarwood administrator. “Now that most of our residents, tenants and staff are vaccinated, we can begin to look forward to our next steps toward normalcy.”

The Department of Health and Human Services in Nebraska have approved an optional program for nursing homes and assisted living facilities to help high-risk residents and tenants receive individualized, person-centered care from family members that previously actively engaged with the resident. The individuals designated as Essential Caregivers would provide companionship and assistance with basic activities of daily living.

Gardenside and Cedarwood have established policies to allow for Essential Caregivers at the facilities. Criteria to participate in the program are:

  • An Essential Caregiver (EC) must be the individual who previously regularly actively engaged with the resident or who was previously committed to providing psychosocial health support and/or assistance with activities of daily living. Family members who did not provide consistent support or assistance prior to the pandemic would not be eligible for this program.
  • To participate in the EC Program, both the resident and family member must be 2 weeks past completion of their second COVID-19 vaccine. If the resident or family member do not receive the COVID-19 vaccine, they are not eligible for the program.
  • Family members designated as an EC must consent to routine COVID-19 testing at the same frequency as staff. Testing frequency is based on county positivity rate.
  • Family members designated as an EC will be required to complete facility training and must agree to comply with all policies and procedures regarding Infection Control measures while visiting Gardenside or Cedarwood. Failure to comply with Gardenside or Cedarwood policies and procedures will result in suspension and/or revocation of EC program.

The Essential Caregiver program will allow for the following:

  • Prescheduled visits for up to 3 hours/day
  • EC will be required to wear a procedure mask while in the facility but will be allowed to be closer to their own loved one than the 6 foot social distancing required with standard visits. They will not be able to visit or be within 6 feet of other Gardenside residents.
  • Enable the EC to provide assistance to the resident with personal needs in the resident’s room
  • Enable the EC to accompany their family member to medical appointments.

The Essential Caregiver program will not allow the EC to take the resident out into the community or for visits in the EC’s home.

Anyone interested in learning more about the EC program or eligibility should call Deb Sutton at 402-729-6843 (Gardenside or Cedarwood), Laura DeBoer at 402-587-5228 (Gardenside), or Becky Bruce at 402-729-6100 (Cedarwood.)