Monday, August 23, 2021

Some nursing homes are not following guidelines on visitations, a representative group has claimed.

Sage Advocacy said some facilities have brought in their own restrictions for visitors amid concerns of high levels of Covid transmission in the community.

The group said residents and their families are fearful of the rise in Covid cases in nursing homes, however, called on the Minister for Older People, Mary Butler to issue further direction to the centres to ensure residents are not denied visitors.

Sage Advocacy executive director, Sarah Lennon said some facilities have introduced visitor restrictions “without confirming a Covid-19 outbreak in a facility and without providing a risk assessment to nursing home residents and their families”.

In centres where an outbreak has been confirmed, Ms Lennon adds they have “reverted to window-only visiting”, only allowing residents to speak to their family through a closed window.

The group said residents and their families are frustrated by the lack of clear communication regarding visits and resident outings.

“Sage Advocacy believes it is vitally important, following the experiences of Covid-19 in nursing homes in the last 12 months, that nursing home providers now focus on the right of residents – particularly their right to see or refuse visitors and their right to maintain meaningful relationships with people who are important to them,” a statement from the group adds.

Ms Butler has been contacted by Sage Advocacy on the matter, asked to urge nursing home operators to “restore the right to visiting, in line with public health guidance, as completely and quickly as is practically possible in the context of the assessed level of risk at the time”.

The group also called for the Commission on Care for older people to be established to examine care and supports for older people. “The Government pledged to set up the Commission in the Programme for Government nearly 14 months ago – as a country we cannot wait any longer for action on this.”

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