May 26, 2022

No longer alone; COVID patients would have visitor under bill

Posted May 26, 2022 8:30 PM


St. Joseph Post

One of the cruelest aspects of the coronavirus pandemic is being addressed in Missouri.

Visitation of hospitalized COVID-19 patients was highly restricted, especially at the beginning of the pandemic when most hospitals wouldn’t allow any visitors.

State Representative Dean Van Schoiack of Savannah says loved ones couldn’t accompany the patient seeking treatment.

“We had situations where people brought their loved ones up to the emergency room and they said, okay, put them in this wheelchair, bye, see you later. We’ll tell you when you can come back,” Van Schoiack tells KFEQ/St. Joseph Post.

The legislature approved the No Patient Left Alone Act, which requires hospitals and nursing homes to allow the patient to designate a compassionate care visitor so that the patient has contact with a loved one. The act also applies to hospice care and any long-term care facility.

Van Schoiack says the designated visitor can provide emotional support as well as practical help.

“There are a lot of things that go on in that ER, things getting stuck on you for monitors and stuff. You don’t know what’s going on,” Van Schoiack says. “It takes somebody who can separate themselves from the situation just a little bit to help provide factual information for the people in the hospital so they can make proper diagnosis and get things straightened out.”

Under the bill, the patient can choose a family member or a close friend as their in-person visitor.

The measure has been sent to Gov. Mike Parson for his consideration.

Click here for more on HB 2116.