June 16, 2021 by Staff Report
WASHINGTON, D.C. | U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik is helping to lead a new bipartisan bill to allow residents of long-term care facilities to have access to essential caregivers during public health emergencies.
Stefanik (R-21) helped introduce the Essential Caregivers Act alongside Reps. Claudia Tenney (NY-22), John B. Larson (CT-01), John Rutherford (FL-04), Yvette Herrell (NM-02), Madison Cawthorn (NC-11), Jeff Van Drew (NJ-02), Steve Cohen (TN-09), Ted Budd (NC-13) and Abigail Spanberger (VA-07).
The legislation designates up to two individuals who can be deemed “essential caregivers” by a facility resident in the event of a public health emergency.
Designated caregivers would be required to follow the same safety protocols as facility staff during visitations and can assist in developing treatment plans, communication with medical professionals, and advocate on behalf of the patient, officials said.
“Residents of long-term care facilities across the country were stripped of their rights to communicate with their families and caregivers during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Stefanik said in announcing the measure June 16.
Stefanik said she spoke with countless loved ones of residents who suffered alone throughout the duration of the pandemic and hopes the new legislation will prevent that from happening again.
“This bill seeks to ensure those residents have better access to their designated essential caregivers and advocates who can speak on their behalf to raise issues and help make decisions about their care to make sure this never happens again.”
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