TRENTON, N.J. – A late Mendham nursing home resident who suffered from lockdowns and misguided policies during the Covid-19 pandemic inspired a bill sponsored by Assemblywoman Aura Dunn and passed by the Aging and Senior Services Committee Thursday.
The bill (A4657), drafted in memory of 99-year-old Sally Griscavage Florek, would provide residents of long-term care facilities greater protections during periods of infectious disease outbreaks. Florek died in April 2020 after she was treated in the hospital for a fall and released back to the nursing home despite testing positive for Covid-19.
“The families of the more than 8,700 residents who died of Covid-19 while in long-term care facilities deserve to know that can never happen again,” Dunn (R-Morris) said. “From nursing home admission policies that failed to separate sick residents, to fear and isolation, our most vulnerable seniors and their loved ones suffered immensely. This law builds on unfortunate lessons learned during the pandemic and establishes uniform protections to ensure nursing home residents are always well cared for.”
The bill mandates regular staff testing, requires nursing homes to cohort residents, and maintains indoor visitation during outbreaks, providing proper infection control measures are followed. It also allows family members to appoint personal physicians to enter a facility and deliver direct care to a resident.