Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Questions (856)

Paul McAuliffe

Question:

856. Deputy Paul McAuliffe asked the Minister for Health his plans for visitation in nursing homes and other residential settings; and if consideration has been given to procedures such as testing and PPE provision for nominated family members to be allowed to visit residents who are not Covid-19 positive in settings in which visits are currently banned. [38374/20]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The importance of continued social interaction of residents and their families cannot be overstated and every effort should be made, in line with public health advice, to ensure that these interactions continue, including through window visits.

Public health guidance for visiting to nursing homes outlines the protective measures to support safe staffing at all levels of the Government Framework including specific reference to visiting during compassionate circumstances. This guidance takes account of the 'Ethical Considerations relating to Long-term Residential Care Facilities in the context of COVID-19'.

This guidance remains under ongoing review by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre, in consultation with relevant national stakeholders, to consider, in line with the range of public health factors, further potential for safe visiting within nursing homes. International evidence as it emerges is encompassed into this guidance.

The provision of PPE to visitors is already provided for within the current guidance.

I encourage all nursing homes to remain familiar with the latest public health advice and support, and to make every effort to continue to facilitate visitors in line with public health advice and to communicate with family and friends on an ongoing basis in order to support positive mental health and well-being. I have communicated with the sector outlining the need for them to be flexible, innovative and to facilitate to the greatest extent possible alternative arrangements such as window visiting, in line with public health advice.