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Rep. James Frank office—
AUSTIN – With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing Texans to carefully navigate family events, those living in isolation are facing a holiday season unlike any other.
In response to emergency rules that have limited family access to long-term care facilities, Rep. James B. Frank (R – Wichita Falls) and Sen. Lois W. Kolkhorst (R – Brenham) last week filed HB 892, HJR 46, SB 267 and SJR 19 in an effort to strengthen the rights of facility residents to maintain contact and personal visits with their loved ones during state emergencies.
“These vulnerable Texans need the care, communication, and physical touch of loved ones and the experience of human interaction that is crucial to quality of life and to both physical and mental health,” Frank said. “I am heartbroken at the dozens of stories I have heard of a spouse or a parent who died after living their final months in isolation. The Legislature must work this session at ensuring that these tragedies are not repeated in the future,” Frank said.
The legislation filed and accompanying resolution codify a nursing home or assisted living resident’s right to designate an essential caregiver, and directs the Executive Commissioner of the Health and Human Services Commission to establish guidelines for infection control measures to ensure resident and staff safety during caregiving visits. These specific guidelines will provide certainty and consistency for caregivers, residents, and long-term care providers.