A change in hospital visitation rules has been a long time in coming and countless families have suffered from overly restrictive practices. Which is what makes this such good news.
A new regulation, which goes into effect two months from now, forces any hospital that participates in Medicare or Medicaid to allow patients to decide who can visit them. This means all unmarried partners, siblings, family-like friends, non-biological parents, grandparents, primary caregivers and someone who just makes you feel like getting healthy can show up at a hospital patients’ bedside — no signed documents or legal battles necessary.
The Advocate‘s Kerry Eleveld reports that the rule change is the result of President Obama’s directive to Health and Human Services, after the administration heard story after story of loved ones being denied visitation to friends, families and life-partners in hospitals.
Hospitals will be required to have written explanations of the new policy, which allows for certain visitation prohibitions if it’s clinically necessary.
Patients will be able to designate who can visit and they can change that designation at any time during the hospital stay. No documentation will be asked for unless that patient arrived unconscious and more than one person claims to be the person who should make care and treatment decisions.
This administration clearly understands the world that we live in now.
“Basic human rights — such as your ability to choose your own support system in a time of need — must not be checked at the door of America’s hospitals,” said the Department of Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “Today’s rules help give ‘full and equal’ rights to all of us to choose whom we want by our bedside when we are sick, and override any objection by a hospital or staffer who may disagree with us for any non-clinical reason.”
Have hospital visitation rules ever kept you or anyone you know away from a loved one?
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