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Nursing Home Visits Set To Increase

atest press release from Minister Stephen Donnelly, issued on Thursday, April 22nd 2021…

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has welcomed the changes to nursing home visiting restrictions.

Under the new guidance residents from May 4th will be able to receive four routine visits per week.

This will be possible following two weeks after the full vaccination of approximately 8 out of 10 of all residents in the nursing home. Otherwise, two visits per week should be facilitated.

The duration of visits should be appropriate to the needs of the resident and should not be less than one hour. Where there is high vaccine coverage, two people may visit at a time but there is no requirement to limit the number of nominated visitors.

However, the situation in nursing homes has greatly improved, the risk associated with COVID-19 remains very real. There is still a risk of introduction of infection, including the possibility of a new variant of COVID-19. There is a particular concern about the possibility of introducing a new variant, against which the vaccine may be less effective. Therefore, caution remains appropriate

Minister Donnelly said: “The most recent guidance, published in March, paved the way for a return to visiting our loved ones in nursing homes and has given great joy and hope to nursing home residents and their families and friends. And now, with the further benefit of full vaccination for so many nursing home residents, it is a very welcome step, through this new guidance, that there is a return to more normalised visiting for nursing home residents.

“The experience associated with this pandemic has been and continues to be difficult and has been acutely felt by those living in nursing homes. Through the necessary measures to protect one another from the virus, we have also all experienced the loss of important social connections with loved ones, a loss which has been particularly felt by our family and friends in nursing homes.

“Meaningful contact with family and friends, which is so important to our wellbeing, is something that we have striven to provide as safely as possible. With high levels of vaccination having now been achieved in many nursing homes.

“It is really encouraging news that this also brings the chance for nursing home residents to have more opportunities to see their loved ones.”