Assemblywoman Buttenschon Continues the Fight for Nursing Home Visitation

Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon (D-Utica/Rome) helped pass a bill that will allow patients at nursing homes to designate caregivers. The bill authorizes the state Department of Health (DOH) to develop regulations to allow family members and legal guardians of nursing home residents to provide them with “compassionate caregiving visitation,” (A.1052-B). The legislation is meant to address the significant deterioration in the mental health and well-being of facility residents as a result of visitation bans and restrictions.[1]

“For nearly a year, our nursing home residents have been isolated and severely restricted in their ability to see their family and loved ones,” Buttenschon said. “This length of separation is simply unacceptable and unhealthy. I’ll always work to ensure our more vulnerable residents are not sidelined in times of great hardship, and that starts with safely bringing compassionate care visitors back into nursing homes.”

Assemblywoman Buttenschon previously sponsored a similar bill regarding nursing home visitation that allowed residents in nursing homes to designate an individual as an “essential caregiver” that would provide them with ancillary care not otherwise offered by the nursing home (A.1070).[2] Both bills are designed to help improve the mental health and emotional well-being of nursing home residents, and both would require designated caregivers to follow strict health and safety protocols suggested by the CDC, the state Department of Health and the individual facilities.

Assemblywoman Buttenschon also helped pass three other bills that were designed to protect those in nursing homes.Those also passed create a task force to study the state of long-term care services in the state (A.3922), require adult care facilities to include performance standards for infection control in their quality assurance plans (A.5846) and require health care facilities to provide residents and their families with information on complaints, citations, inspections, enforcement actions, and penalties taken against the facility (A.5848).