Saud Anwar

State Senator

Saud Anwar

Deputy President Pro Tempore

Working For You

May 14, 2021

Senator Anwar Co-Sponsors, Votes to Join Senate Passage of Bill that Strengthens Rights for Long-Term Care Facility Residents

Early this morning, State Senator Saud Anwar (D-South Windsor), co-sponsored and voted to pass legislation on the Senate floor that would allow residents of long-term care facilities the right to treat their living spaces as their homes and have the same rights as other state residents do. These rights include protections for privacy in communications, visitation, personal privacy and include guidance regarding a resident’s right to privacy with respect to the use of technology and the right to exercise all rights as a citizen or resident of the United States as well as the nursing home.

“Isolation for our senior populations can be hard in normal times, and was amplified tragically during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Sen. Anwar. “They have the same rights as any other resident of the state and this legislation ensures they can better exercise them. I’m proud to provide additional care and assistance to individuals in our state and look forward to this bill becoming law.”

Senate Bill 975, “An Act Strengthening The Bill Of Rights For Long-Term Care Facility Residents,” would be effective July 1, 2021. Under this bill, patients would be able to associate and communicate privately with anyone they choose. A patient would be able to purchase and use technology that would help facilitate virtual visitation with family members and others. A resident may use technology of their choice provided any recordings or images are not used to violate privacy rights of the state and federal law of any other individual. To use this technology, a resident or representative of a resident must obtain written consent of any roommate, file a notice with the long-term care facility a week in advance with a description of the technology that will be used, and sign a waiver of all liability for the long-term care facility related to the use of the technology. If a roommate withdraws consent, the resident must stop using the technology immediately. Residents must purchase, install, and maintain the technology at their own expense. Facilities must place notices on the entrances of the building and the doors about virtual technology may be in use.

The coronavirus pandemic put a strain on those who live in long-term care facilities and their relationships with their loved ones. Because the state had to shut down and implement restrictions, these facilities were not allowed visitors in order to maintain a safer and healthier environment. The use of electronics and remote visitation became something many depended on to check in with their loved ones.

This bill also establishes a process for residents to file grievances for violations of their rights. Taken together, this bill’s provisions are critical to improving the lives of residents of long-term care facilities as we continue to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. More importantly, this bill is essential in order to prepare for the future should there be another health-related pandemic.