ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — On Tuesday, the New York State Senate passed Bill S.614B, which provides the authorization and regulation of visitation of compassionate caregiving visitors at nursing homes and residential health care facilities.

Marcella Goheen is an essential caregiver advocate, and has been fighting to visit and take care of her husband Bobby. “It’s been terrible! You cannot care-give through a phone and through a video! And you cannot assess a loved one and what they need medically, essentially— hydration, changing, you cannot. So how important is it? It’s life or death important,” explained Goheen.

She said for those who live in nursing homes and other facilities, not seeing their loved ones can lead to depression and cause a serious decline in their overall health. “We are losing a lot of our nursing home patients not from the COVID virus, but because of broken hearts,” stated Sen. Jim Tedisco.

Tedisco cosponsors a bill that would allow caregiving visitors in nursing homes and residential health care facilities. “This will allow one family member or individual to enter the nursing home to show love, to show companionship following CDC guidelines,” he explained. “If they had the vaccinations, both shots, they will not have to be pre-tested.”

If signed into law, personal caregiving visitors would be required to be tested for communicable diseases, have temperature checks, health screenings, proper PPE, and practice social distancing.

For families like Marcella Goheen’s, this would make a world of difference. “In a pandemic setting in the future, and for generations to come, people like myself, will never be locked out again,” said Goheen.

Even though this bipartisan bill has passed in the Senate, it still has to be passed in the Assembly before it can go to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s desk to be signed into law.