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Sage Advocacy's Executive Director, Sarah Lennon, joined the Pat Kenny Show on newstalk to discuss latest public health measures and what this means for nursing home residents and their loved ones.
Ms Lennon said it is crucially important that nursing home providers continue to manage the ongoing risk of infection from Covid-19 while protecting and respecting the rights of residents to maintain meaningful relationships with people who are important to them.
Ms Lennon said while a nursing home is a healthcare setting it is also a resident's home - it is where they live, where they meet with up friends and loved ones and it is important in that context to respect an individual's choice.
Sage Advocacy's Exec Director said that while some residents may want their visitors to take antigen tests and wear masks they may also be welcoming of people who have not taken antigen tests and may not want their visitors to wear masks when they are visiting them one to one in their own rooms.
Ms Lennon said: "Nursing home residents have made the most sacrifices of any one of us throughout the pandemic, they have restricted longest, they have been away from society the longest and they have also had the most infections and experienced the most deaths and there needs to come a point where they reap a bonus, they reap the reward of their patience and sacrifice throughout the pandemic.
"Giving them the choice now - and there's no issue about people being asked to wear masks in common areas and though out the nursing home - but when residents are one to one with an individual across a table, having a cup of tea with their loved one, I think it is a small matter to say that residents should have the choice about whether they would unmask or not."