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Friday, November 19, 2021

Florida legislators float bill that will require hospitals to allow patient visitation in a pandemic

Posted By on Fri, Nov 19, 2021 at 10:41 AM

click to enlarge Florida's COVID-19 surge is filling the state's hospital beds. - ADOBE
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  • Florida's COVID-19 surge is filling the state's hospital beds.

Dubbed the “No Patient Left Alone Act,” a bill filed Thursday in the Florida Senate seeks to ensure that patients and residents of hospitals, nursing homes and other health-care facilities can have visitors.

The bill (SB 988), filed by Sen. Ileana Garcia, R-Miami, comes after many facilities stopped or limited visitation for periods during the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill includes a legislative finding “that it is in the best interest of the state and its residents that the patients and residents of health care facilities be allowed visitation by visitors of their choosing during their hospitalization or residential treatment.”

The bill would direct health-care providers to allow patients or residents to have visitors. If access needs to be restricted for health or safety concerns, the providers would have to “develop alternate visitation protocols that allow visitation to the greatest extent possible while maintaining client health and safety,” under the bill.

The proposal also would require in-person visits in certain circumstances, such as end-of-life situations; times when patients or residents are grieving deaths of friends or family members; and situations when patients or residents need encouragement to eat or drink and are experiencing weight loss or dehydration.

The bill is filed for consideration during the 2022 legislative session, which will start in January.

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