April 18, 2022
New Laws Make It Easier to Visit Loved Ones in Health Care Facilities
At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals and other long-term care facilities across the country limited or prohibited visitation to protect patients and staffers from infection.
However, several states, including New York and Texas, have recently passed legislation that allows long-term care residents to designate essential caregivers who may visit regardless of an ongoing public health emergency. Supporters of the new legislation argue that the visitation restrictions had actually resulted in higher rates of patient mortality. Indeed, a recent study from JAMA Neurology found that, besides COVID-19 infection, the negative effects of social isolation and loneliness may have contributed to elevated mortality rates.
Residents of long-term care facilities are still one of the groups most at-risk for severe COVID-19 infection and death, so the new visitation laws also include provisions that protect patients and staff, such as mask requirements, health screenings and a revocation of the right to visit for those who break the rules.
“Visits from loved ones help a patient heal and help prevent other health problems,” said Robert Roach, Jr., President of the Alliance. “But as always, it’s best to consult your doctor when deciding whether it’s a safe time to visit a hospital or long term care facility.”