Rush in letter: “Even as we uphold science-based safety protocols, we must take every step possible to show compassion, particularly for the most vulnerable amongst us… As the situation has changed, the policies have not kept pace”
In a recent letter to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky, U.S. Representative Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.) urged the CDC to revisit its existing guidance governing hospital visitation policies. Rush raised concerns that policies that too severely limit access to loved ones cause immense suffering for patients who are reaching the end of their lives — and their families — and may be unnecessary given the latest scientific advancements including vaccines, tests, and masks.
“It is paramount that even as we uphold science-based safety protocols, we must take every step possible to show compassion, particularly for the most vulnerable amongst us,” Rush said in the letter. “Even as life returns to normal in many parts of society, those suffering end of life trauma are too often overlooked. Patients may still be isolated from loved ones during their last days and hours. Moreover, as many of these who suffer are poor, their voices are often muted and their plights unacknowledged.”
“While limiting the spread of COVID-19 remains critical, I believe that the restrictive visitor policies currently in place at many hospitals in Illinois and around the country should be updated to reflect the latest science and the tools we now have at our disposal. For example, policies severely limiting the number of visitors were needed in the spring of 2020 when we did not have vaccines, booster shots, or even truly understand how COVID-19 was spread. As the situation has changed, the policies have not kept pace,” Rush continued.
“While individual hospitals should continue to have the flexibility to make policies that best serve their patients, staff, and visitors, these institutions often look to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for guidelines and parameters. As such, I urge you to review the latest public health data and — in partnership with hospitals — develop a visiting policy that reflects our current reality,” Rush concluded.
The full text of Rep. Rush’s letter to CDC is available HERE.