Tips for CA Consumers on How to Support & Visit Loved Ones in the Hospital During the Pandemic
Los Angeles, CA – Consumer Watchdog released “Know Your Rights When Your Family is in the Hospital” tips that every consumer should know sharing the recent changes giving patients new visitation rights for California hospitals.
"Expectant mothers about to give birth need to know that they can now have a partner or support person with them in the hospital. Moms no longer have to give birth alone," said Michele Monserratt-Ramos, patient advocate with Consumer Watchdog.
As the state begins to adjust 'Stay at Home' orders that barred nearly all family members from visiting loved ones in the hospital, the California Department of Public Health hasissued revised guidelines that allow some patients to have a support person or advocate by their side. It is important thatCalifornia consumers and patients know their rights while managing the stress of coordinating the health care of a family member in a hospital or nursing home, said Consumer Watchdog.
“We are experiencing trying times and there is nothing more stressful than having a child or an elderly parent in the hospital," said Monserratt-Ramos. “With Mother’s Day approaching, we want to ensure that our new mothers are not experiencing childbirth alone and that our mothershospitalized are not denied a visitor on Mother’s Day.”
The tips identify four are for patients in 4 categories – childbirth, pediatrics, end of life, and those with cognitive or developmental impairments – with new rights to have someone with them in the hospital. The tips are intended to help Californians navigate the changing and confusing visitation guidelines during the COVID-19 crisis (information listed below):
The “Know Your Rights When Your Family is in the Hospital” tips include visitation guidelines for:
Labor and Delivery:
• One support person can be present with the patient. You don’t have to face childbirth alone
• If you have a child in the hospital or may require medical attention in an emergency room, one adult is allowed to be by their side
• If a child requires a prolonged hospitalization, you can choose two adults as support people for your child with only one adult at a time staying with the child
Patients at End of Life:
• One visitor will be allowed to stay with the patient. Your loved one will no longer be forced to die alone
Patients with Physical, Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities and Patients with Cognitive Impairments
• One person will be allowed to stay with the patient when medically necessary
• When a patient requires a prolonged hospitalization, the patient or family/patient representative may choose two support people with only one visitor at a time
“California consumers and patients have never faced having to undergo hospitalization and medical treatment alone,” said Monserratt-Ramos. “It is critical that Californians understand that they do have their rights restored, in some cases, to have an advocate, a support person, or a family member at their side to help them coordinate their care.”
With California Governor Newsom recently allowing hospitals to resume elective procedures, it is a critical time for Californians to know the rights they have regained in advocating, supporting, and visiting their family members while in the hospital.
The California Department of Public Health’s All Facility Letter expanding Californians' right to have support in the hospital can be found here:
The consumer tips in detail:
• In order to provide support for pediatric patients, California hospitals have been ordered to allow parents and family members to appoint two support people with one support person or advocate to stay with the child while hospitalized. Children are unable to make medical decisions. Alleviating the confusion for the child and the concern of the family will greatly improve the delivery of patient care
Labor and Delivery:
• As maternal mortality has increased dramatically since 1987, it was critical to allow a support person to be present to support and assist expectant mothers in labor and delivery. In a busy COVID-19 environment, mothers need an advocate or support person by their side to ensure they are receiving the care they need.
Patients at End of Life:
• One of the greatest concerns of family members is that their loved one was left to die alone. California families will now be allowed to stay with their family member and given the opportunity to say goodbye.
Patients with Physical, Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities and Patients with Cognitive Impairments:
• California patients with physical, intellectual or cognitive impairments are unable to make medical decisions on their own. Patients with cognitive impairments can decline significantly without their support person or caregiver to assist them in receiving care and understanding and accepting the hospital environment. Medical care for patients with these impairments will improve with a support person now allowed to stay with the patient when it is deemed medically necessary.
Patients in Nursing Homes:
• There is confusion within California nursing homes whether they are required to follow California’s new visitation guidelines. Not all nursing homes are allowing a patient to have a visitor. Family members should request to see their loved one citing California’s new visitation guidelines. If you are not allowed access to your family member’s nursing home, then you can request to speak with your loved one by video chat or phone call. Our parents and grandparents need that interaction, and the nursing care staff will also see that the patient has family that is engaging in their care
• Support people may be screened prior to entering medical facilities
• Support people must comply with any health facility instructions regarding the use of personal protective equipment (PPE)
• Support people must stay in the patient’s room and be asymptomatic for COVID-19 and not be a suspected or recently confirmed case
• The California Department of Public Health encourages facilities, including but not limited to skilled nursing facilities, to create ways for residents and patients to have frequent video and phone call visits
Consumers may contact Consumer Watchdog by filing a complaint on Consumer Watchdog’s website: http://consumerwatchdog.nationbuilder.com/submitcomplaint
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Consumer Watchdog is a non-partisan and non-profit public interest organization. For more information, visit us on the web at: www.ConsumerWatchdog.org