Thursday, 10 September 2020

Ceisteanna (202)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

202. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health if he will address a matter in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23035/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

It is recognised that the impact of COVID-19 on society in general and especially those living in long term residential care (LTRC) settings has been considerable. Residential settings are people’s homes as well as places where health and social care are provided. The introduction of physical distancing, isolation and restricted contact with family and loved ones has changed the usual dynamic of social interaction. I am very much aware of how difficult the restrictions on visits to LTRCs are for residents and their families.

However, NPHET has advised that LTRC settings gradually reintroduce usual activities while taking public health precautions. Families are encouraged to talk to the support staff at the person’s residence, to make arrangements for visits and other activities that can be facilitated within the current public health guidance. This guidance will continue to be reviewed in line with the disease progression and guidelines will be updated. The most recent guidance is available here: https://www.hpsc.ie/a-z/respiratory/coronavirus/novelcoronavirus/guidance/infectionpreventionandcontrolguidance/residentialcarefacilities/

It is important to recall that people living in LTRC facilities are particularly vulnerable populations in the context of Covid-19 and have been identified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to be at a higher risk of being susceptible to infection from this disease and for subsequent adverse outcomes. Nevertheless, it is important that the rights of residents to have visitors is balanced with the need to ensure that visitations do not compromise overall resident care or adherence to requisite infection control procedures. The guidance above is clear that LTRC service providers and / or the Person in Charge should facilitate visits as part of the return to the normal activity of the setting.

As the Deputy's question relates to an individual case, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply to the Deputy.