On April 6, 2022, Governor Ron DeSantis signed SB 988, the No Patient Left Alone Act, to guarantee Florida families the fundamental right to visit their loved ones who are receiving care in hospitals, hospices, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and intermediate care facilities for the developmentally disabled (long-term care facilities). No health care facility in Florida may require a vaccine as a condition of visitation and every health care facility must allow their residents and patients to be hugged by their loved ones.
SB 988 states that all hospitals, hospices, and long-term care facilities visitation policies and procedures must allow for in-person visitation in all the following circumstances, unless the resident, client, or patient objects:
- End-of-life situations.
- A resident, client, or patient who was living with family before being admitted to the provider’s care is struggling with the change in environment and lack of in-person family support.
- A resident, client, or patient is making one or more major medical decisions.
- A resident, client, or patient is experiencing emotional distress or grieving the loss of a friend or family member who recently died.
- A resident, client, or patient needs cueing or encouragement to eat or drink which was previously provided by a family member or caregiver.
- A resident, client, or patient who used to talk and interact with others is seldom speaking.
Additionally, the bill allows a resident, client, or patient the option to designate a visitor who is a family member, friend, guardian, or other individual as an essential caregiver. The provider must allow in-person visitation by the essential caregiver for at least two hours daily in addition to any other visitation authorized by the provider.
Visitation Guidelines According to CMS & MHRC Core Principles
In light of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) guidelines and SB 988, MHRC now can allow responsible and fully open visitation for all our residents and families.
Because our resident population still remains vulnerable to COVID-19, our facilities will follow and enforce The Core Principles of COVID-19 Infection Prevention. We hope and expect all visitors will follow these rules:
- Outdoor visits are preferred.
- During indoor visitation, we will:
- Not permit entrance to anyone who is COVID-19 positive, has symptoms of COVID-19; fever, chills, cough, sneezing, diarrhea, sore throat, runny nose, body aches, shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, loss of taste or smell. If you have been in close contact with a COVID-19 positive individual, please defer your visit for 10 days from contact. If you are COVID-19 positive, please defer your visit for 5 days from positive test.
- Encourage frequent hand washing and use of alcohol-based sanitizer.
We hope all will adhere to these guidelines, but any visitor who does not follow the Core Principles and Facility’s COVID-19 Visitation Rules, will regrettably be asked to leave and/or not be permitted to visit.
- Visitation Specifics
Residents can have visitors at any time they choose, so long as it does not interfere with another resident’s rights or pose a need for reasonable clinical or safety restriction reasons.
Visitors do not have to be vaccinated for COVID-19, but it is strongly encouraged.
You will be asked to wear a mask in the facility if the community transmission level is HIGH or if there is a facility outbreak. Otherwise, masks are available upon request.