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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: December 4, 2020 01:37 PM
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 reintroducing Senate Bill 1279 from last session to allow a family member or other designated person to visit and care for an elderly relative in a long-term care facility (LTFC).

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become clear that our most vulnerable population is our seniors, specifically those living in group settings like long-term care facilities.  While the most important think we can do for our elderly loved ones is to keep them safe, flat-out denying them the ability to see and receive care from their loved ones is causing unnecessary emotional, physical, and psychological harm. 

Over the summer, 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 again 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.  It would still give flexibility for facilities to manage and control possible outbreaks while still ensuring compliance with federal and state regulations requiring visitation.

Lession, this legislation passed the Senate and was co-sponsored by Senators AUMENT, BROWNE, GORDNER, J. WARD, HUTCHINSON, MARTIN, MASTRIANO, PHILLIPS-HILL and PITTMAN.

I think we still need to focus on on families staying in contact during these turbulent and uncertain times, so please consider joining me in co-sponsoring this important piece of legislation. 

Introduced as SB190