GUEST COLUMN: Connect nursing home residents with families

Angelo Santabarbara - File

Angelo Santabarbara - File

By Angelo Santabarbara
For The Daily Gazette

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented a challenge to all of us.

Our nursing home residents have been isolated from their loved ones, unsure of when they will see them next.
For some, it has been nearly a year since they’ve had the opportunity to see their families and as a result, they have endured great emotional hardship.

These are difficult times for all of us, but our parents and grandparents have gone too long suffering in solitude.
To help ensure our family members can finally receive some long overdue face time that will not only help boost their spirits but also their health, I am co-sponsoring legislation that would allow nursing home residents to designate a primary caregiver as well as a backup secondary and alternate caregiver to assist them with their emotional and nonmedical needs as the COVID-19 pandemic continues on (A11092).

A designated caregiver would be able to see their loved one and ensure that they’re getting the proper care and attention.
This bill will still adhere to the guidelines laid out by the state Department of Health (DOH), which allows visitors if the facility has been clear of any COVID-19 cases for 14 days and the visitor presents a negative COVID-19 test result within seven days of arrival.

However, a lack of clarity between the DOH and nursing homes has limited visitations and has our families, friends, and neighbors wondering when they will be able to see their loved one again.

My hope is that this bill will relieve those concerns and make it easier to address the isolation of nursing home residents.
Although our health care heroes have worked tirelessly to assist the medical needs of these residents, it’s often difficult to meet all of the emotional needs required to help a resident thrive.

As vaccines are distributed to our health care facilities and we begin to further understand this virus, we must continue to evolve our COVID response to ensure the safety and happiness of our community and our loved ones.
Angelo Santabarbara is a New York state Assemblyman representing the 111th District.

Categories: Guest Column, Opinion

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