Regulation over Long-Term Care Facility Visitation During COVID-19: An Analysis Centering on the US Law
Long-term care facilities (LTCFs) are the institutes suffering most significant impacts brought by COVID-19. Imposing strict restrictions on visitation to LTCFs is likely to be one of the essential pandemic control measures. However, the measure also leads to separation of residents from their families and residents’ social isolation, which harms residents both physically and mentally. The US federal regulation over LTCF visitation evolves. Starting from all prohibition at the beginning of the pandemic, restrictions were later relieved gradually. The regulation then turned to be allowing visitation as the principle, and the latest version of the regulation even recognizes the right of visitation of all residents at any time. Nevertheless, how to balance the right with pandemic prevention or control remains to be debated. Taiwan has strictly restrained visitation of LTCFs and gives the authority and the LTCFs broad discretions. The experience of the US regulation may shed some lights to reexamine the Taiwanese law that helps the protection of residents’ rights and welfare.