This month, the team at Sherrell House Care Home in Chigwell welcomed Karen, their first Essential Care Giver (ECG).
The Essential Caregiver role was introduced in the Government guidance on visiting in care homes, effective from 8 March 2021. It runs alongside other types of visiting and recognises that some residents need more regular support from relatives/friends, a greater degree of contact, or help with personal care.
Enabling a relative or friend to visit for longer and more regularly than other types of visitors, the Essential Caregiver can be in the resident’s room and have closer contact. They may carry out personal care tasks with the resident – such as support to eat – provide emotional support, or it may be that their presence during personal care tasks carried out by staff is beneficial to the resident’s wellbeing (for example by helping to relieve distress). Closer engagement/interaction and touch can be vital to ensure wellbeing. Essential Caregivers are subject to the same testing regime, PPE arrangements and infection prevention and control (IPC) measures as staff.
Karen was motivated to become an Essential Care Giver, so she could spend more meaningful time with her mother and play an active role in supporting her emotionally and with her care needs. This is something we encourage at Excelcare as the Essential Care Giver role ensures residents’ wellbeing is protected at this critical time, following a challenging and emotionally unprecedented year.
Karen’s first day was spent in the garden with her mother, Nina, arranging flowers and walking around. Nina used to be a florist, so this was an activity she really enjoyed, especially whilst in the company of her daughter.
“Karen is very special to me, we have a special bond,” said Karen’s daughter Nina. Karen responded, saying “It is wonderful having this special contact with my mum and to see her so happy and being able to help with her care and support.”
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