New visiting guidelines for nursing homes

12 March 2021
By Bryan Smyth

Fianna Fáil TD for Cork North West, Aindrias Moynihan

Fianna Fáil TD for Cork North West, Aindrias Moynihan has welcomed the announcement by Minister for Health and Older People, Mary Butler TD, on the approval of new guidance on visitations to long term residential care facilities.

Welcoming the new guidance, Deputy Moynihan said: “The new visiting guidance will, I hope, be widely welcomed, as it signifies a big step forward in providing opportunities for people living in nursing homes and their families to meet much more frequently.

“I know from speaking to families in the Cork area that it has been a particularly difficult period of time for them and their loved ones living in nursing homes.

“Moving forward, under levels, 3, 4 and 5, residents will be able to receive two visits every week, under compassionate grounds where there is high vaccine coverage in a nursing home.”

These changes will come into effect from 22nd March. The next number of days will allow time for nursing home service providers to communicate with families, book visits and prepare for additional visiting.

While the current guidance had provided for visiting on critical and compassionate grounds, these changes will expand the scope of visiting on general compassionate grounds.

Deputy Moynihan added: “Twelve months on from the life changing arrival of COVID-19 we have seen the huge impact this virus has had on society, especially for our older people. It has been an incredibly difficult time for people living in nursing homes and their families as restrictions on visiting have continued.

“For many there has been limited opportunity since Christmas to see their loved ones. Staff in nursing homes, to their eternal credit, did their utmost to accommodate contact for families via video and Zoom calls. But we all know that there is nothing quite like spending face-to-face time with a loved one.”

Deputy Moynihan concluded: “While the new guidance is hugely positive, the risk associated with COVID-19 remains very real. This is why the guidance takes a cautious approach and aligns with the principles set out in the Government’s revised Living with COVID-19 Plan. We all need to remain vigilant, and continue to follow public health advice, including when visiting, to reduce the spread of COVID and protect those living in our communities.”

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