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

HARRISBURG – Yesterday, the Senate approved Senator Bob Mensch (R-24)‘s legislation to ensure safe visitation and enhanced care for residents of long-term care facilities.

Senate Bill 1279 would require long-term care 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 enacted 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 safety protocols could have been followed.

“The decision to designate an EFC should be individualized and integrated with a resident-centered care plan. A schedule and set amount of time in the facility is to be established and agreed to and may not exceed more than 2 hours a day, so that schedules can be staggered as to not completely flood the facility with outside visitors. This bill represents the best effort to allow families to see their loved ones, while still allowing facilities the flexibility to manage any potential outbreaks,” Mensch said.

“Simply, we are trying to give facilities and families a clear picture of when and how they can visit or care for their loved ones. Families have been waiting for eight months to see their loved one.”

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

For more information on Senator Mensch’s legislation, visit www.senatormensch.com.  State updates can also be found on Senator Mensch’s Facebook at facebook.com/PASenatorBobMensch/ or Twitter @SenatorMensch.

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CONTACT: Madison Scarfaro mscarfaro@pasen.gov  (215) 541-2388