The new rules will allow visitors to see loved ones in health care facilities, even in an illness

Jean White’s mother has dementia and has moved to a memorial home near Tampa, Florida, as coronavirus outbreaks begin in the spring of 2020. For months, the family has not been allowed to do so. go in and visit.

They tried video chats and visits outside his bedroom window, but White said his mother, who was 87. White’s mother could not understand why. so that she could hear the voices of the people but not with her loved ones.

When the family agreed, the commotion continued. White said the building would be closed when a resident or employee became ill.

Each time, his mother’s memory faded.

Visitation limits have been relaxed, White said, but he questioned whether his mother should be protected from covid-19 during the duration of the separation. “What a worry, loneliness, and confusion he got – I think I want him to see his family,” she said.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill April 6 to make it easier for people like White to see their loved ones in health care facilities. Before Florida, eight states passed similar laws, and there are several bills under consideration.

Some laws, such as those passed last year in New York and Texas, are specific to long -term care homes. They let the people choose good caregivers, known as foster carers, who were allowed to visit regardless of health problems. The Texans also added barriers to their constitution.

Other states – including Arkansas, North Carolina, and Oklahoma – have enacted similar “No Patient Left Alone” laws that ensure immigrants have access to patients in hospitals.

Hospitals and long -term care centers set sick leave limits on visitors to prevent patients and staff from getting sick. But supporters of these new laws said they wanted to comfort inmates because the rules may have hurt patients.

An Associated Press study found that for every two residents in long-term care who died from covid-19, one resident had previously died of other causes. The report, published in late 2020, reported some of those deaths in resignation. Other deaths, recorded on death certificates as “failure to succeed,” were recorded as grief.

Even in areas of the U.S. with low levels of covid, the risk of death for nursing homes with dementia is 14% higher in 2020 than in 2019, according to a study published in February. and JAMA Neurology.

Researchers have pointed to other aspects of covid disease that can increase mortality, such as reduced access to health care and community support services and “the negative effects of isolation and loneliness. “

The wife takes a job at the factory next to her husband

As long -term care homes and hospitals began closing their doors to family visitors, patient Mary Daniel of Jacksonville, Florida, worried about what was coming to her husband. Steve, who has Alzheimer’s disease. “I swore to him when it was seen that I would be by his side every step of the way, and for 114 days I couldn’t do that,” Daniel said.

To get back in, Daniel took a dishwasher to her husband’s living room so he could see her. Daniel works in the kitchen two nights a week and goes to his room after work. She helped him change into his pajamas and lay on his side watching TV until he fell asleep. “That’s why I went there, to be his wife, to hold her hand, so she feels that love,” Daniel said.

Daniel has fought for immigration rights in the state and federal government ever since. He is a leader for Caregivers for Compromise, an organization with thousands of members. He also served on a state labor team that announced Florida’s decision to order long -term care homes to reopen to families in the fall of 2020.

“We understand covid death, but we want everyone to understand covid death,” Daniel said.

Visitation rules also include measures to prevent illness and staff by directing agencies to establish disease management practices that families need to follow to participate. This is how a mask or health check is required. In Florida, protocols could not be more stringent for immigrants than for staff, and the status of medical care could not be the same.

In Florida, too, employers can ban foreigners who don’t follow the rules. That’s great with fans like Daniel. “I don’t think we’re going to knock on the door and say, ‘You can’t drive us out, and I’ll come here as I please,'” he said. “We want to make sure everyone is safe.”

DeSantis, who selected Daniel for the 2020 project, is a vocal advocate for increasing visitor engagement. “Covid cannot be used as a reason to deny medical rights, and one of the responsibilities of a patient, I think, is to visit your loved ones,” DeSantis said in a statement. a news conference in February.

Balancing the enjoyment of visits with the risks of illness

In November, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services instructed nursing homes to open their doors to visitors among covid-19 patients, while they monitor visitors to see if they have reported the quality or symptoms of covid-19.

Hospitals and assisted living facilities are not the same as nursing homes. Some health care industry leaders fear the new rules for hospitals and assisted living facilities will not give workers the flexibility they need to respond to crises.

Veronica Catoe, Executive Director of the Florida Assisted Living Association, shows homes with different powers that are welcome to visit. Some have private rooms and common areas; Others live in single -family homes.

“These workers are trying to prevent not only the loved one who wants to visit, but the loved one who doesn’t want these outsiders to come in. They both have a responsibility,” Catoe said.

Florida law provides for a variety of features that are permitted to visit at any time. These include whether the patient is dying, struggling to move to a new environment, or having a heart problem, among other reasons.

Catoe said those conditions are not easy to explain. “Should it be decided by the employer, or by the family, or by the locals?” he asked. “And when they fight, who decides?”

Families want more time with a loved one who is dying

Mary Mayhew, president of the Florida Hospital Association, said the decision was difficult for health departments. “They really want to put on the rules [visitor] get involved, and it’s been done so much in this normal time that we have a disease – continuing the disease – we’re constantly learning something new every day, “Mayhew said. He added that people go to hospitals because they are sick or injured, where they suffer from illness.

He said families were important in medical care and he was critical even though during the rise of covid and locks, hospitals tried to get families to visit, even if diseases are dying.

Kevin Rzeszut said his family needed it.

In August, when Tampa hospitals were filled with patients with the delta variant, Rzeszut’s father died of bacterial infection at age 75. “By the time we saw him, he said. I think he’s gone, ”Rzeszut said. “There is no more knowledge; he was very fond of medicines.

She could not visit her father for two weeks, she said.

He said the staff did what they could. “Nurses and doctors, they can look at the memos all day, but they don’t see it,” Rzeszut said. Rzeszut’s mother, who has lived with her father for 53 years, said, “It’s better to improve the little things. It may be a pipe dream, but it’s a real idea.”

Rzeszut said he would support efforts to give families access to their loved ones, even though implementing them would not increase performance on an “overburdened” health care system. What she really likes, she says, is that more people think covid so people don’t need the law to visit their loved ones.

This is part of the story of the reunion NPR, WUSFand KHN.

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