Nursing home visits will be limited to two named visitors per resident, and visitors must undergo temperatures checks under new public health guidelines to reopen care homes to visits.
The Government on Friday signed off on a series of recommendations to permit the phrased reintroduction of visits to nursing homes and care facilities from June 15th.
The reopening of the nursing homes, which have been closed to visitors since mid-March, was announced as part of the second phase of lockdown restrictions being lifted.
Visits will be limited to daytime visits of less than 30 minutes, and each visitor will only be allowed a maximum of one visit per week. Children under 16 will not be permitted to visit.
Under guidelines published on Friday by the State agency responsible for infection prevention and control, residential care facilities with no ongoing Covid-19 outbreak are being encouraged to provide a separate entrance and exit area for visitors from the middle of this month.
Visitors should be scheduled “to avoid any heavy footfall” at any time, the State’s Health Protection Surveillance Centre has said in the guidelines that will come into effect on June 15th.
Anyone visiting a care home should be asked if they have had Covid-19 or close contact with a person with the disease or suspected Covid-19 symptoms.
They will also be required to declare that they themselves have no symptoms of the disease before they are permitted to enter the care home.
Visitors will be required to sign in on entry to the facility, and must use their own pen or be signed in. Only scheduled visits will be permitted.
If the visitor cannot maintain physical distancing during the visit they must be provided with a surgical mask, and the disposal of the mask must be monitored.
Only “all-but-essential visiting” such as end-of-life circumstances will be permitted in residential care facilities with Covid-19 outbreaks.
The State’s chief medical officer, Dr Tony Holohan, said on Friday that the phased reopening of homes to visitors has been introduced in recognition of the “significant burden” of visitor restriction on residents, and how they have been “isolated for such a long time from loved ones”.
Nursing homes account for the highest share of deaths in the Covid-19 pandemic with 927 or 55 per cent of the 1,670 people who have died in the State from the virus being care home residents.
From The Irish Times