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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: July 29, 2020 10:06 AM
From: Senator Bob Mensch
To: All Senate members
Subject: Designated Essential Family Caregivers (EFCs) in Long-Term Care Facilities
In the near future, I plan on introducing legislation which will allow a family member or other designated person to visit and care for an elderly relative in a long-term care facility (LTFC).
As we all know, the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic is greatest to our vulnerable populations, especially our seniors.  Undoubtedly, the most vulnerable subset of our seniors are those who are in long-term care facilities.  Department of Health statistics prove seniors in long-term care facilities suffer a much higher incident rate of illness and death related to COVID-19.  Pennsylvania, along with other states, must learn from the pandemic and adapt our strategy as it relates to protecting citizens residing in these facilities while still allowing them to have regular contact with loved ones.  I am encouraged by the progress we have made in addressing this issue, but I think we can agree there is always more we can do.
Recently, constituents brought to my attention a policy by the State of Indiana’s Department of Health.  In Indiana long-term care facilities residents can have family members designated as essential to be able to have access to their loved ones.  In short, the policy states that, “…it is recommended that LTFCs consider designating as Essential Family Caregivers (EFCs) those family members and other outside caregivers who, prior to visitor restrictions, were regularly engaged with the resident at least two or more times per week to provide companionship and/or assist with activities requiring one-on-one direction."
My legislation would create legislation based on this policy.  The goal would be for EFCs to help high-risk residents who are missing care previously provided by a loved one or outside caregiver. 
I think we can do more to help families stay in contact during these turbulent and uncertain times, so please consider joining me in co-sponsoring this important piece of legislation.

Introduced as SB1279