The prospect of additional weekly visits by more friends and family will deliver a major boost to the wellbeing and mental health of nursing home residents across the country, Sage Advocacy has said.
The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) has approved revised Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) COVID-19 Guidance on visits to long term residential care facilities including nursing homes.
The updated guidance, set to come into effect next month, will according to Sage Advocacy, be warmly welcomed by nursing home residents and their families.
From May 4, providing there is a high level of vaccination in a nursing home – which means approximately about 8 out of every 10 residents in the facility have been vaccinated – residents will be able to have four visits by two people each week.
The updated guidance also highlights:
(for further information see: Guidance on visits to RCF.pdf (hpsc.ie)
Sarah Lennon, Sage Advocacy’s Executive Director, said the increase in visits for residents will mark a welcome return to a more “normal daily routine”.
Ms Lennon said: “Residents and their families have told us that one of the most difficult aspects of living through Covid-19 has been the physical separation they have had to endure. We know from our work that visits are crucially important to the mental health and well being of residents and that a visit from a loved one can make all the difference to them, particularly if they have been feeling low or unwell.
“The importance of visits and the connection between residents and their families and friends cannot be overstated – in many cases it can literally be a lifeline for them and we know that Covid-19 cruelly robbed nursing home residents of that over the last year.
“We would urge nursing home providers to enthusiastically embrace the latest HSE visiting guidance from May 4, we know that residents and families are impatient to recover the time they have lost out on together and it is important that every effort is made to facilitate four safe visits every week for each resident.
“We fully appreciate that Covid-19 continues to pose a threat and that we must all continue to be vigilant, but nursing home residents and their families are looking forward to getting back to doing more of the things they love together.”