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NHI welcomes easing of nursing home visitor restrictions to come into effect 22nd March

Thursday March 11, 2021

11th March 2021: Nursing Homes Ireland has welcomed publication of revised visitor guidance that will facilitate an easing of visitor restrictions. Under the revised guidance, residents may be facilitated to receive two visits per week on general compassionate grounds, with it expanding the scope of visiting on general compassionate grounds.

Tadhg Daly, NHI CEO states: “The easing of visitor restrictions marks a significant step forward.  While we adopt a cautious approach in seeking to move on from the pandemic, we are pleased NPHET has taken this step, made possible by the vaccination programme.  Nursing home residents, families and staff have had the toughest of years and this easing will make a psychological difference to many and give hope to the wider population that the vaccination programme is proving extremely effective in fighting the virus. The guidelines mark an important step in resuming in-person visits to facilitate meaningful contact for residents and family. Resumption of in-person visits will bring great relief and happiness within our nursing homes. We still believe antigen testing and a system of vaccination for designated visitors could also play a useful role as part of a suite of measures to minimise risk in keeping nursing home residents and staff safe while the virus remains at high levels in the community.”

NHI will be communicating the guidance to all Member nursing homes for appropriate implementation.

Mr Daly adds: “Rigorous IPC measures will remain given that the virus remains a threat and persons who are vaccinated can still catch the virus and also transmit it.  We also need to be careful about the risk of variants of the virus that may be able to get around the vaccine protection. It is important to also note the guidance recommends masks are worn during in-person visits and we ask people to comply with all the public health and nursing home requirements which are in place to protect residents. Visitors to residents will be required to book their visit with the nursing home in advance. It should also be noted the guidance recommends measures to ease visitor restrictions come into effect Monday 22nd March.”

“Nursing homes are people’s homes and we will continue our engagement with the public health authorities to make life as normal as possible for our residents and be guided by NPHET advices.”

Tadhg Daly, NHI CEO is available for further comment. Michael McGlynn, NHI Communications and Research Executive, will facilitate interviews and can be contacted at 087 9082970.