The coronavirus pandemic has separated nursing home residents from loved ones for nearly a year and a half, and a Utica woman is headed to Washington D.C. in her quest to make sure that never happens again.
Congresswoman Claudia Tenney, R-22, introduced the Essential Caregivers Act in April, with the help of Karla Abraham-Conley, who lost her mother during the pandemic after she wasn’t allowed to see her for several months due to visitor restrictions.
The legislation would allow any resident of a nursing home or group care home to designate two family members as essential caregivers who can have contact during a health emergency or pandemic. This ensures any patient or resident has access to care and support from their loved ones. The bill would also allow the caregivers to have regular communication with the doctors at the facility, in order to advocate for the resident or patient.
Abraham-Conley said she is confident the bill, which she helped write, will pass.
"We wrote a good bill. We wrote a very strong bill and it's a very doable bill, and one that's absolutely 100% necessary; and it's so well written and every angle was thought out and we covered the loopholes,” she said.
Abraham-Conley is going to Washington Tuesday to meet with other supporters on Capitol Hill before a press conference scheduled for Wednesday.