The Alabama Senate passed a bill on March 23rd, 2023 which guarantees hospital and nursing home patients to designate an “essential caregiver” who is ensured regular visitation rights of at least two hours a day.
The bill, which passed unanimously with a vote of 33-0, was written in response to the ongoing restrictions on healthcare facility visitation since the COVID-19 pandemic. It repeals the existing law which required healthcare facilities to adopt visitation policies that met certain standards following COVID-19 restrictions.
The patient is allowed to rotate their designated essential caregiver, and a different one can be chosen each day. If the patient is incapacitated and thus unable to designate an essential caregiver themselves, a family member may appoint one on their behalf.
The bill’s champion, Senator Garlan Gudger (R-Cullman), noted that every Alabama family has experienced separation from a loved one during the pandemic. He also was quick to state that the bill was not intended as criticism of healthcare facilities or their employees, calling them heroes.
Senator Gudger introduced this bill following a conversation with Bonnie Sachs, the wife of Alabama’s Republican Party’s longtime chief of staff, who died in November of 2020. At her husband’s funeral, she explained that she was unable to see her husband of 50 years before his passing due to hospital visitation restrictions.
Under this new legislation, hospitals and nursing homes would be required to allow at least two hours of visitation in addition to any other visitation provided for in the facility’s policy. The circumstances include:
With over 55 years of combined experience in the field, The Hankey Law Firm, proudly serves the people of Cullman County, Blount County, Winston County, Madison County, Morgan County, and beyond. Our mission is to provide compassionate, timely, and relentless advocacy to all of our clients. Contact us today or call (256)-736-8744 so we can fight for you, your rights, and your future. Our family law services includes comprehensive advocacy and representation for divorces, child custody disputes, child support, paternity considerations, juvenile law including disputes with the Department of Human Resources, adoptions, probate services, and more. We understand that people generally seek family law representation at their most stressful and emotional moments, so our lawyers believe in advocating for our clients and ensuring their rights are protected, helping them navigate their options with sensitivity and compassion.