8News: Republicans and Democrats push for essential caregiver support


Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-N.Y.) and other house lawmakers say residents in long-term care facilities should never be completely cut-off from their loved ones.

“Many of them are sitting in isolation in these care facilities,” Tenney said.

The Essential Caregivers Act would allow residents to designate essential caregivers who could continue to provide support, even during a public health emergency. During the peak of the pandemic, caregivers could not be present as their loved ones died in isolation.

“When you see these heartbreaking photos of family members looking through windows, into their loved ones, who’s all alone, in a room, and in some cases doesn’t understand what’s going on,” Tenney said.

“They were not able to provide that personal family visit,” Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.)

Spanberger says the bill puts caregivers’ concerns at the front.

“We are thinking toward the future in the event of another emergency,” Spanberger said.

The bill ensures necessary access for caregivers while also maintaining safety standards and protocols at the facilities.

“We don’t know what we’re getting, which is why those precautions are there,” Tenney said.

And they say the key now, is to not let history repeat itself.

“It’s about learning from what happened in the past, recognizing that we do not ever want to see a repeat of the circumstances of 2020, for so many reasons,” Spanberger said.

Both Tenney and Spanberger are hopeful for movement on this bill by the end of 2022.

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