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Owensboro woman in Washington D.C. rallying for bill impacting nursing home residents

Published: Jun. 30, 2021 at 6:51 PM CDT
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OWENSBORO, Ky. (WFIE) - An Owensboro woman is rallying on the steps of our nation’s capital Wednesday, all for a bill impacting residents in long-term care facilities.

It’s called the Essential Caregivers Act. It was introduced earlier this year by New York Representative Claudia Tenney.

It allows long-term care residents to have an essential caregiver come into the care facility, even during a medical emergency like a pandemic.

Marla Carter is part of the Kentucky Community Caregivers group. She drove all the way to D.C. to rally for this bill in support of her mother-in-law, who has dementia.

She’s also a resident in an Owensboro nursing home. Carter says no one should have to watch their loved ones from a window.

“I prayed almost daily for the opportunity to speak out for those that can’t speak for themselves,” said Carter.

“Staff doesn’t always have time to go in and find somebody’s remote you know, so those were things we were doing that would take that burden off of staff that would free them up to do other things,” Carter explained.

Carter says residents with dementia, like her mother-in-law, can have a harder time without their loved ones.

“A lot of residents with really bad dementia, it can be really disorienting for them to come out of their room and see their loved ones somewhere else, or even on a screen or through a window,” Carter shared.

The bill would still come with time restrictions, and the caregivers would provide their own PPE.

Carter says nursing home staff need the help.

“Family caregivers are extensions of the staff in a lot of ways because the staff is busy and the extra burden of COVID and all the extra things they’ve had to do has kept them extra busy,” Carter stated.

The bill has been approved in over 20 states. It’s still in the introduction process for the state of Kentucky.

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