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Sage Advocacy's Executive Director, Sarah Lennon, joined the Tommy Marren Show on Midwest Radio to talk about how revised HPSC visiting guidelines - which came into effect on 15/11/2021 - have prompted debate among some nursing home residents and their families, who are concerned about barriers to visitation.
Ms Lennon said the most significant change contained in the latest guidelines is that there is now a requirement for visitors to a nursing home to provide proof of immunity through vaccination or prior infection.
Ms Lennon said Sage Advocacy was aware that some nursing home providers had previously asked for this and that for some people this will not create an additional barrier and some residents and families are in favour of it.
But she said the national organisation, which provides support and advocacy services to older people, adults who may be vulnerable and healthcare patients, had also heard from other people who are concerned about the new requirement and who may not be in a position to comply with it for various reasons.
Ms Lennon said it is important to remember that this is a guideline and nursing home residents can interpret this in whichever way they see fit.
She said it is also built into the guidelines that nursing home providers can use compassionate grounds to interpret the latest HPSC guidelines and Sage Advocacy is asking home providers not to put up unnecessary barriers to visiting.
Ms Lennon said Sage Advocacy does not want to see a return to the previous lockdown of nursing homes when visitors were restricted to window visiting only.
She also stressed how important it is to ensure that the bond between residents and their loved ones is maintained through visiting in a safe environment.