Sen. Somers: New CT law will better protect elderly nursing home residents

July 27, 2021

“One of the most important pieces of legislation that we passed in 2021”


Sen. Heather Somers applauded the governor’s July 27 ceremonial signing of legislation she co-sponsored which will improve the way that elderly residents are cared for in Connecticut nursing homes.

“This was one of the most important pieces of legislation that we passed in the 2021 legislative session,” said Sen. Somers, who serves as ranking senator on the legislature’s Public Health Committee. “We should always be trying to make our nursing homes safer for both residents and employees. I thank our Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly and Deputy Republican Leader Paul Formica for their persistence and advocacy in helping to get this bill to the finish line.”

One of the key features of the wide-ranging new law, which takes effect on Oct. 1, requires nursing homes to employ a full-time infection control specialist responsible for administrator and employee training on infection prevention and control.  The new law focuses on adequate staffing levels, addresses emergency planning, visitation of loved ones, and patients’ rights. It also makes sure that residents’ social and emotional needs are met as best they can.

“The COVID pandemic has shown us here in Connecticut the voids in the system that we have for caring for our elderly and long-term care in assisted living facilities,” Sen. Somers said. “The people who work in these facilities really do God’s work. It is not an easy job, and they do it with care and love and a true dedication.

“Our elder care industry needs more attention. We all know that PPE was short in supply.  I received calls, sometimes on an hourly basis, from some of our facilities asking for help, from family members of loved ones that felt that they were locked inside and couldn’t have contact with the outside world, but most of our facilities did a great job in trying in the best of their ability to keep that contact going, whether it was through tablets that they could have, waving out the window. I personally visited many of these facilities obviously on the outside waving to the people inside. Just seeing somebody new could really brighten their day.

“This legislation was a bipartisan effort and it marks an important first policy step. It was crafted by working with stakeholders and those who are working in these facilities, because those truly are the people who have the best information.”

Sen. Somers served on the state’s Covid Vaccine Advisory Committee and as Chairperson of the Vaccine Communications Subcommittee.






She represents Griswold, Groton, North Stonington, Plainfield, Preston, Sterling, Stonington and Voluntown.