Advocate pushes state to relax hospital restrictions surrounding visitation
Hospitals in New York are still operating with visitor restrictions that some feel are now doing more harm than good.
Joseph Gross says when his grandmother recently fell ill and had to go to the hospital, the family had to choose between a higher rated hospital still not allowing visitors -- or a lower rated hospital that did. The family chose the latter.
"The only time she can be calmed down is when someone is there. The minute no one is there, she gets frustrated and gets the hospital staff frustrated. Nothing can be treated right if she's not calm," says Gross.
Last June, the state enacted visitation guidelines for hospitals which include:
A four-hour limit for patients daily
One visitor at a time
No visitors under 18
Hospitals have the discretion to expand or tighten restrictions.
Just last week, News 12 shared the story of an Orange County family denied visitation to their father who was dying of COVID-19.
"The hospital didn't let someone end of life in… it doesn't it doesn't make sense," says Yossi Gestetner.
Gestetner is co-founder of the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Counci, which is now pushing the state to relax the policy.
"We're not going back to March and April when people were panicked and didn't know. We now know how things work better with vaccines, antibodies and PPE. And hospital staff are not exactly taken home in a tube quarantined. They go shopping, they go, they live," he says.
The council wants the state to relax restrictions surrounding end-of-life care, resume children visitation, and expand the number of visitors and amount of time they can be bedside.
A spokesperson with the state Health Department released the following statement: “While DOH understands the need to walk a fine line between allowing visitors while also keeping patients safe during this unprecedented pandemic, our position has not changed. As detailed in the visitation guidance, hospitals are allowed to extend visitation beyond 4 hours per day per patient depending upon the patient’ status and condition. The visitation guidance also enables hospitals to expand beyond the one visitor per person if the hospital determines that additional persons are determined to be appropriate to allow at the bedside. All hospitals in New York must follow the visitation guidance released on June 17 as now is not the time to let our guard down.”