Compassionate Care Visits

COVID-19 is a serious viral infection and based on currently available information and clinical expertise, older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. This increases the need for vigilance in avoiding the introduction and transmission of COVID-19 into congregate living settings, such as assisted living facilities.

While end-of-life situations have been used as examples of compassionate care situations, the term “compassionate care situations” does not exclusively refer to end-of-life situations. Assessment and person-centered care planning approaches should be the basis of all visitation discussions and decisions. Each assisted living facility is required, upon admission and when a change of condition occurs, to assess each resident and develop a person-centered plan to meet the needs, wants, and wishes of the resident. Discovering and supporting the resident’s wishes regarding specific visitors, types of visits, frequency, and time of day is critical to a person-centered approach. The resident, along with people that are important to them, familiar with their preferences and needs, or would otherwise have clinical knowledge about their condition should be involved in this assessment process.  Resident wishes should be honored above all others, and facilities should acknowledge that some visits may appropriately involve some aspect of caregiving, based on a resident’s need or desire.  Examples might include a visitor’s help with a meal, aspects of dressing, getting to the bathroom, with appropriate orientation, if needed.

Examples of other types of compassionate care situations that incorporate person-centered approaches include, but are not limited to:

  • A resident, who was living with their family before recently being admitted to an assisted living community, is struggling with the change in environment and lack of physical family support.
  • A resident who is grieving after a friend or family member recently passed away.
  • A resident who needs cueing and encouragement with eating or drinking, previously provided by family and/or caregiver(s), is experiencing weight loss or dehydration.
  • A resident, who used to talk and interact with others, is experiencing emotional distress, seldom speaking, or crying more frequently when the resident had rarely cried in the past.
  • A resident who has dementia or a similar impairment and who experiences a decline in mood, behavior, or function during “sundowning” or similar periods throughout the day, which can only be eased by the presence of a particular family member.
  • A resident with a mental health concern that has become unstable due to isolation, and who is now experiencing increased fear or anxiety, and who may be displaying behaviors that communicate distress, such as exit-seeking, compulsion, self-injury, or suicidal statements.

Allowing a visit in these situations would be consistent with the intent of “compassionate care situations,” as well as being person-centered in approach. In addition to family members, compassionate care visits can be conducted by any individual who can meet the resident’s needs, such as clergy or lay persons offering religious and spiritual support, life partners or others who have a familial-type relationship with the resident. The above list is not exhaustive as there may be other compassionate care situations not included, and which are identified according to an individual resident’s needs or wishes.

Please contact Chris Ninneman if you are interested in scheduling a compassionate care visit with your loved one in Valley Villas.