Ugaste-Backed Legislation to Protect Family Visitation in Nursing Homes during Disaster Proclamations

SPRINGFIELD – On Monday, legislation to protect family visitation in Illinois nursing homes supported by State Representative Dan Ugaste (R-Geneva) passed the House. Senate Bill 1405 was introduced by State Rep. Chris Bos (R-Lake Zurich) and would amend the Medical Patient Rights Act to ensure in times of pandemic that family members can visit their loved ones in the hospital or long-term care facilities. SB 1405 passed the House with 105 votes in favor of the legislation.

“Yesterday I spoke about my family’s painful experience during the COVID-19 pandemic and the tragic loss of my mother-in-law,” said Rep. Ugaste. “My wife did not have the opportunity to see her mother for three and a half months before her death, only receiving the opportunity to say a final goodbye when her mother was completely comatose. Yesterday’s debate was not a debate on the Governor’s executive authority. Rather, it was about providing a humane opportunity to keep loved ones together. I was proud to vote for this legislation to ensure what my family had to experience does not happen again to Illinois families.”

SB 1405 mandates that during a period in which the Governor has declared a disaster in Illinois or the specific community where the health care facility is located, that facility must ensure an opportunity for at least one visitor to visit a resident or patient. This is excluding members of the clergy.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, the state has approximately 1,200 long-term care facilities that serve over 100,000 residents. These residents range from young individuals to the elderly.