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 Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-34), who supported the bill.

“For many residents of long-term care facilities, the loneliness and isolation brought on by the policies designed to protect them from the COVID-19 health crisis were crushing,” Senator Corman said. “This plan provides a lifeline for those residents and their families.”

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.

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

CONTACT: Jenn Kocher – jkocher@pasen.gov