Several states have implemented laws limiting or prohibiting visitation restrictions at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities in response to COVID-19 lockdowns that were put in place to protect residents.
Florida lawmakers in mid-March became the latest state to pass legislation aimed at ensuring nursing home residents would have visitation access — even during future public health emergencies. Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is prepared to sign the measure in the coming days.
The measure is supported by the Florida Health Care Association. The organization in a March legislative report said providers are already “keeping their doors open to visitors because [they] know just how critical the personal connections are for residents.”
It’s one of eight states, which include New York and Texas, that have passed similar legislation or are currently considering measures, NPR reported Monday.
Resident advocates have said that the proposals are important in ensuring residents can remain in touch with family and friends who also support their care needs.
“We understand that COVID kills, but we want to be sure everyone understands isolation kills too,” resident advocate Mary Daniel told NPR. Daniel is also a member of resident advocacy group Caregivers for Compromise.
“We want to protect their health, we want to be sure that everything is safe,” she later added.
The long-term care industry has advocated for flexible guidance on visitation after the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services earlier this year said nursing homes should allow visitation for residents “at all times.”