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State task force recommends visitation changes for nursing homes

A state task force recommended big changes Monday that may make it easier to visit loved ones at nursing homes, which have been hit hard by the pandemic.

News 12 Staff

Jan 4, 2021, 11:52 PM

Updated 1,265 days ago

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A state task force recommended big changes Monday that may make it easier to visit loved ones at nursing homes, which have been hit hard by the pandemic.
Visitation rules can change from facility to facility, but a task force recommended one statewide policy.
"There was such an abuse with this state of emergency that continues, in many of our opinions, to this day," says Liz Stern, a nursing home resident's daughter.
Recommendations include residents reviewing new long-term care regulations and guaranteeing access to video chats.
Also, family members considered "essential caregivers" could visit even in a pandemic.
"There should be someone that's allowed into the nursing home," says state Rep. Kathleen McCarty.
This spring, nursing homes were overrun with staff shortages. The task force wants to require each facility to have a plan to replace quarantining nurses.
There's also talk of a special minimum wage just for nursing home workers.
"If you have a 10-day period where you suddenly lose, you know, a whole shift of nurses, do you have a staffing agency?" asks LeadingAge Connecticut President Mag Morelli.
Nursing homes say too much red tape could make it impossible to react to the next pandemic. In March, many had to move residents on the fly.
"There was an emergency need to do things, and we don't know what the next emergency's going to be," Morelli says.
The task force expects to make formal recommendations on Thursday, then they go to state lawmakers, who head back to Hartford this week.


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