Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed a bill into law on Monday that requires the accommodation of in-person spiritual care visitations for residents of long-term care facilities, including nursing homes and hospices.
The bill, HB2449, had bipartisan support. It passed 57-2 in the House of Representatives and 18-10 in the Senate.
Its sponsor, state Rep. Quang Nguyen, R-Prescott, was pleased to see the bill become law.
“For many patients and their families, the spiritual care provided by visiting clergy is as important as health care,” Nguyen said in a press release. “Unfortunately, these visits are not always accommodated in long-term care facilities. Restrictive visitation policies put in place by facilities during the coronavirus pandemic resulted in separating patients from their families, clergy, and others for long periods. The new law protects the religious liberty of long-term care residents in Arizona, ensuring they are able to get the spiritual comfort and support they seek as they near the end of life.”
The bill requires visiting clergy to comply with precautionary measures determined by the facility.
Additionally, the bill offers some liability for long-term care facilities. It says that a facility “is not liable to a person visiting a resident, or to the resident, for civil damages resulting from death or injury from a communicable disease resulting from the visitation provided the institution complied with health and safety precautions.”
This article was originally posted on Arizona ensures in-person clergy visitation to long-term care facilities