Statement on Nursing Home Bill

“The coronavirus pandemic has put many of our families with older relatives in crisis. Starting from the very beginning of this pandemic, I heard from the families with loved ones in nursing homes and assisted living communities who were no longer able to enter facilities. Over the last ten months, these visitation restrictions have caused havoc and heartache for countless families across our state. 

After trying, unsuccessfully, to find a regulatory solution to this problem with the Department of Health, I worked with my Assembly and Senate colleagues, family members of nursing home residents, and advocates to introduce legislation, A.1052-A (Bronson), that helps our families and residents of these facilities by permitting personal care visitation. 

Today, I am pleased to let our state’s families know that this legislation is one step closer to becoming law, by moving through the Assembly’s Health Committee and onto the Assembly floor for consideration. 

I recognize that the intention of a total ban on visitation was meant to limit spread of the COVID-19 virus. However, it has become apparent that isolation from loved ones presents significant risks of its own to the physical and mental wellbeing of nursing home residents. In many cases, family members prior to the ban regularly provided care for their loved one, assisting with essential activities of daily living. These family members, some of them daily visitors for years, functioned as de facto “staff," augmenting the care and support provided by regular staff. We know that nursing home aides are too often stretched thin under the best of circumstances. Personal care visitation will allow for such care to resume, with the designated caregivers following the same protocols as staff, in order to safely enter a facility and visit with their loved one.”