Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has approved a bill enforcing new rules regulating and restricting visits at health care facilities. This bill applies to hospitals, nursing homes, hospice facilities, assisted living facilities, and intermediate care centers. Source.
Senate Bill 988, known as the “No Patient Left Alone Act”, was passed largely in response to the early months of COVID in which visitation in Florida health care facilities was extremely limited. DeSantis signed the bill stating that “If there is another crisis, it’s important that we not lose sight over things that really matter.” So, the question remains: What will this bill do?
Visitation MUST Be Allowed in Specific Cases
Senate Bill 988 outlines a series of cases in which visitation must be allowed, even during a pandemic or other emergency. These cases include:
- If a patient or resident is giving birth
- If a patient or resident is about to die
- If the patient is a pediatric patient
- If a patient or resident is struggling to adapt to their new environment
- If a patient or resident needs encouragement in eating or speaking
- If a patient or resident is going through emotional distress
- If a patient or resident is grieving a loss
- If a patient or resident is making a major medical decision
Facilities Will Have to Make Visitation Rules
According to the new bill, health care facilities will have 30 days to create or update their visitation rules. The updated rules must include infection control procedures, with the knowledge and understanding that these facilities will not be allowed to require any immunization or vaccination of visitors. The new, updated rules must also allow for consensual touching of patients or residents.