Legislation to Ensure Safe Visitation and Care of Nursing Home Residents Earns Senate Approval

(HARRISBURG) – The Senate approved legislation today to ensure safe visitation and enhanced care for residents of long-term care facilities, according to Senator Ryan Aument (R-36), who supported the bill.

Senate Bill 1279 would require facilities to designate at least one essential family caregiver per resident that would be permitted to visit and care for a loved one during a disaster emergency. Under the bill, caregivers would be able to remain in contact with family members and provide companionship and assist with activities requiring one-on-one direction.

The approach of the bill mirrors a successful policy in the state of Indiana that allows family members to assist in the care of loved ones while also providing visitation for high-risk residents.

Many Pennsylvania families faced COVID-19 restrictions that prevented them from visiting loved ones for months – even when all state and federal safety protocols could have been followed.

“Many families of residents at long-term care facilities – as well as administrators of the facilities – have contacted me over the past couple of months to express their concern for the deterioration of the residents’ mental health during the governor’s strict lockdown,” said Aument. “These residents felt lonely and isolated from their loved ones, with little-to-no options for in-person visits for an indefinite period of time. Senate Bill 1279 appropriately balances the need for visitation with safety protocols, and I believe it is an important measure for our elderly and their families who have been separated for far too long.”

The bill now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.

 CONTACT:  Ryan Boop (717) 787-4420

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