Families, lawmakers react to signing of Personal Caregiver Bill | WNYT.com

Families, lawmakers react to signing of Personal Caregiver Bill

Sam Hesler
Updated: March 30, 2021 12:30 PM
Created: March 30, 2021 12:26 PM

Families with loved ones in nursing homes and long-term care facilities are celebrating Tuesday, after Gov. Cuomo signed the Personal Caregiver Bill Monday night.

It will allow a person living in a nursing home or long-term care facility to have two designated personal caregivers, who can enter nursing homes even under a state of emergency, as long as proper health and safety protocols are followed.

For caregivers like Marcella Goheen, founder of the website Essential Care Visitor, it was a life or death bill.

“This bill stemmed from a moment in my heart when I realized my husband wasn’t going to survive without my care, and miraculously he survived a year after COVID-19,” Goheen explained.

Goheen says she is thrilled that lawmakers and the state are recognizing the critical role caregivers play in a person’s mental and overall health.

“The pandemic showed us that there were many supplemental care persons that were in facilities for five to seven hours a day, sometimes all day long because of staffing issues, as well as serving their loved ones who need their families and need their essential care,” Goheen said.

She is pleased that there is now an official standard for personal caregiver and compassionate care visits.

“The whole purpose of the bill is that it’s written in public health law that essential care visitors are official, and they won’t be locked out. A facility at the frontline, because of this public health law, can’t practice their own way of interpreting the law,” she added. “Now, we are equal to staff.”

While the governor has signed the bill into law, there is a 45-day waiting period before it takes effect, but Republican Senator Jim Tedisco says caregivers and residents of nursing home facilities have waited long enough.

“I’m putting in a bill immediately to eliminate the 45-day waiting period. There is no need to wait 45 days. Loved ones have to get in those nursing homes to provide the love, the care, and the compassion for their family members. They need that care and compassion,” he explained.

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