Senator Gallivan Co-Sponsors Legislation to Allow Family Visitation in Nursing Homes

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Limited Compassionate Care Visitation Would be Allowed

Senator Patrick M. Gallivan (R-C-I, Elma) is co-sponsoring a bill (S.8958) which would allow visitation by family members and others at nursing homes and residential care facilities in order to provide compassionate care and support to residents.  Many patients and nursing home residents have suffered from isolation since New York issued a ban on outside visitation to help curb the spread of the coronavirus in these facilities.

“The ban on outside visitation did help to limit the spread of Covid-19 among nursing home residents, but the forced isolation has also had a detrimental impact on the health and wellbeing of some residents and their loved ones," said Senator Gallivan, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Health.  "In addition to compassion and emotional support, family members often provide routine care and assist with feeding, dressing and other essential activities.  The rules should allow for certain exemptions so that limited personal care visits can resume to help support the physical, mental and emotional health of residents in nursing homes and adult care facilities."

The legislation would direct the New York State Department of Health to develop rules, regulations and guidelines to allow visitation by family members and legal guardians to provide support and compassionate care to residents.  The department would limit visitation to one caregiver per resident and would establish safety protocols for such visitors. Compassionate care would include support for residents facing end-of-life care or significant physical, mental or social decline.  

In many cases, nursing home staff are stretched thin and family members have helped to augment the care and support provided by nurses and aides.  The pandemic and the ban on outside visitation has made the situation worse.  Allowing exemptions for personal care visitors is crucial to the wellbeing of nursing home residents.