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Well, last week I was actually excited. Our Governor issued this statement.


"Governor Greg Abbott today directed the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to expand visitation options for eligible nursing, assisted living, and intermediate care facilities, home and community-based service providers, and inpatient hospice, effective Thursday, Sept. 24. HHSC’s updated emergency rules will allow a designated essential caregiver to provide supportive, hands-on care to facility residents who do not have COVID-19.


Under the new rules, residents will be allowed to designate up to two essential family caregivers who will be provided necessary training to allow them to safely go inside a facility for a scheduled visit, including in the resident’s room, to help ensure their loved one’s physical, social and emotional needs are being met. Designated caregivers will not be required to maintain physical distancing, but only one caregiver can visit a resident at a time.


A long-term care facility resident (or legal representative) can designate the essential caregiver, who can be a family member, friend or other individual. Facilities are required to train essential caregivers on the proper use of personal protective equipment and other infection control measures. Proper PPE must be used at all times during these scheduled visits, and the caregiver must test negative for COVID-19 within the previous 14 days before the initial visit.


!!!!!!!!!


Yeah, right?


I scheduled my covid test (negative! Woo), and sent an email to the Memory Care manager, asking to have me and my sister designated, and asked about next steps as to do the PPE training.


I got a community notice about visitors....and it mentioned nothing about essential caregivers. Only offered a scheduled, no contact ,30 visit in a designated common area.


When I got a response from the facility it was " we aren't going to do that", so I guess they are going to ignore the guidance. I left message with the corporate offices and the state agency, but it appears the governor got his photo and good press but nothing is changing.


Has anyone in Texas encountered this also, or is mom's facility an outlier? What has been your essential caregiving experience in other states?


Whats crazy about all of this is that I can take her out for a medical or dental visit and they dont care, no quarantine on return. I can help her into the car, sit with her at doctor, drive with her to and from appointment, even get her a snack if she misses a meal.

We are in Texas and have had the exact same problem. My brother and I were allowed to take her to a doctor's office off-site, but they wouldn't let either of us visit or be designated "essential workers." In our effort, one of the senior employees literally cursed my brother out. Literally. They would rather Mother sit in in a room/cell and stare at the wall 24/7. They had stopped offering any social activities at all. All that is abusive and we were watching her rapidly decline before our eyes. So we told them we were picking her up for a dentist appointment and then we called and told them we were not bringing her back. You can use your own imagination as to what we went through with the contract and personal furnishings. The term "failure to thrive" seems an appropriate description for what the isolating treatment is. They are so busy covering their butts in case of an outbreak that they think it's okay to abuse the residents. And curse a caring son. It is despicable.
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Reply to kellyloriwelch
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As a work around until they figure out this issue, could you somehow take advantage of the opportunity of medical/dental visits? maybe schedule more? sounds crazy, these are crazy times. Wishing you all the best.
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Reply to dafodil
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The same thing happened here in Florida. Other nursing homes were letting family members in as Essential Caregivers in, but our facility said family members would never be Essential Caregivers because that is a paid position for a aide to sit with a resident.

I posted on Facebook, which got the attention of a reporter, which got the attention of the Task Force for Reopening the Nursing Facilities (appointed by the Governor). Guess who got to hug Papa today for the first time since March 9th!!

You might try being the squeaky wheel!
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mally1 Sep 26, 2020
Kudos to you, Becky!
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Here in Orange County, CA the Licensing bureau said each facility can set their own protocols for visitation with no interference from County unless a Safety issue
occurs.
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Reply to Compassionate5
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Boy, I wish our governor had the stones to make such a proclamation. He's perfectly happy to keep everyone locked down and kids out of school as long as possible. (Welcome to California.)

I'm literally the only person who ever visits my mother, and I want to be in there with her. She can't see me through a window (macular degeneration) and with her hearing loss she can't understand someone through a mask from six or eight feet away. That's all I'm allowed now, and it's not acceptable. The staff brought Covid in there, not family members, and it's gone now, so it's time to loosen things up.

I hope you get in to see your mom soon.
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Reply to MJ1929
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AnnReid Sep 27, 2020
I NEED my vulnerable LO to be protected from “THE VIRUS” and in my mind, it makes no difference whether staff or delivery people or family members or ANY OTHER SOURCE DELIVERS IT.

I HATE the restrictions. I trained myself to remain as calm as possible EVERY TIME THE PHONE RANG, I steeled myself to the lack of certainty that she’d know I was still there for her, I KNOW that she can’t stand cold weather and would never tolerate an outside visit in a week or two, BUT THE VIRUS DOESN’T CARE.

And I’m STILL afraid of some random event, LIKE THE FIRST ONE, bringing her a relapse that would end the miracle that has allowed her to live long enough to have the 6 outside visits I’ve had.

So however much I HATE to be distanced from her I GET WHY IT’S THE CASE.

In MY “hotspot” state, we are STILL restricted to outside visits, o sign of when this will change, and if it keeps my LO SAFE, I’m going to suck it up and wait.

That said, I understand everything you’re saying and everything you feel, and I grieve with you that this has happened to ALL OF US.
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The state maybe opening up but the facility probably has the option to open up or not. They need to be ready and probably aren't. Maybe they are short staffed and don't have a staff member to do the training. Or, the staff needs to be trained first.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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Thanks for clarifying. Maybe they are simply getting their protocols in place.

In my coop, we have a gym that is eligible to re-open. But once open, it has to be inspected by the state within 14 days and the Board knows that the ventilation system needs to be upgraded, so they are addressing that first. Frustrating, but I understand their caution.

Let us know what you find out from corporate!
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Gracie61 Sep 23, 2020
Corporate called me today. They said that they heard about the new rules from the press conference at the same time as the public did. Said to be patient and that would be strategizing and working on incorporating the new guidance as soon as they could, but did not specify time timetable. He said they had received many emails.

I guess I'll try the new visit plan for now. He described it as behind plexiglass in the library area. I'm just picturing people visiting in prison where they are on opposite sides of glass . I know its probably not like that (I hope!), but I wonder how Mom is going to react. With her dementia she just doesn't remember the virus issues.
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Is it possible that your mom's facility is not "eligible" for some reason? Is she in one of the areas that is still seeing increases in cases?

Good for you for following up with corporate. Please let us know what they say!
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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Gracie61 Sep 23, 2020
No her facility is eligible. The Texas HHSC has an excel spreadsheet with all eligible facilities that qualify for expanded visitation. They are on there.
I like the place, as far as I can tell, since covid protocols kicked me out only several weeks after mom moved in, they treat residents well. They have been responsive to my requests. I do video call with mom most days, and shes alert, and wearing clean clothes, and seems physically ok. Shes had a couple of falls, but that's to be expected. The new Memory Care manager has been more proactive about keeping family updated on what their loved ones have been doing. They have had no covid cases among residents.

So while I want to advocate for the essential caregivers, I also dont want to damage my relationships with my mom caregivers or do anything that might impact my mom's care.
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