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Families Complain about New Testing Requirement for NY Nursing Home Visits

On January 7th, New York officials announced that proof of a negative COVID-19 test is required before you can visit a loved one in a nursing home. As COVID-19 cases continue to climb, New York officials claim these nursing home visitor testing requirements are crucial for the protection of residents, much to the dismay of many family members.

Since the highly contagious omicron variant can be detrimental to vulnerable populations, such as the elderly, regulations mandate that tests must be taken within the last 24 hours to ensure safety. Unfortunately, while the testing regulations may be well-intended, they block many family members from visiting their loved ones.

Should New York Nursing Homes Require Visitors to Provide a Negative COVID Test?

Immense demand combined with insufficient supply has made COVID-19 tests a hot commodity, and some families are left distraught. Many worry that if left unvisited for too long, those who have Alzheimer’s disease will no longer be able to recognize their families.

In many instances, visitors are subject to testing requirements while the facility staff is not. This inconsistency leaves those who take extreme precautions to keep their loved ones safe questioning why they are considered higher risk than the staff who follow the same precautions?

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, nursing home residents have suffered disproportionately higher rates of illness and death than the general population. But patient advocates worry that omicron will be used as an excuse to shut down visitation again. The federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services agrees and has supported the right to receive untested visitors as long as safety protocols are followed.

COVID-19 Testing for New York Nursing Home Visitors

The Biden administration’s plan to distribute four free COVID tests per household may relieve test shortages. However, this supply will not go far for family members who visit their loved ones in New York nursing homes multiple times per week.

Governor Kathy Hochul has pledged to deliver nearly 1 million COVID tests to nursing homes. Although this will allow visitors to test on the spot, it presents its own complications. Not only do nursing home workers not want to test visitors lining up at the door, but they also don’t have the staff to do it.

Many long-term care facilities run understaffed, and the available employees have to focus on caring for the facility’s residents. With the current shortage of nursing home staff, keeping visitors in compliance with mask-wearing policies, social distancing guidelines, and infection control practices is incredibly taxing on teams already stretched thin by the pandemic.

Contact a New York Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer If You Are Concerned About Your Loved Ones

Elderly residents of understaffed New York nursing homes are often subject to illness, injury, and neglect. If you have a family member in a New York nursing home who is not receiving adequate care, contact an attorney who can advocate for the interests of your loved one. 

When you partner with Dalli & Marino, you will benefit from having one of New York’s most experienced and successful personal injury and nursing home abuse law firms on your side. To discuss your situation with one of our New York nursing home attorneys for free, call us at (888) 465-8790 or complete our contact form. We also speak Spanish. 

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