The HSE has issued guidelines for those planning to visit residential care facilities in the coming weeks.
The body says it wants to stress the importance of maintaining family connections with loved ones bit says it cannot underestimate the well being of the residents.
From the 15th of June across CHO area 1 we are implementing plans to ensure that Covid-19 guidance on visitations to Residential Care Facilities produced by the HPSC is adhered to.
This guidance is very important in preventing accidental introduction of Covid-19 into a residential facility and making visiting safe for everyone.
Visits to Residential Care Facilities are at the discretion of the manager of each facility and it is their responsibility to ensure that visitations do not compromise overall resident care or adherence to infection control procedures. Therefore, there may be times when visiting is now allowed.
In a residential Care Facility where there is no ongoing outbreak of Covid-19 visiting for residents is permitted where the following criteria are adhered to:
· Each resident has a maximum of two named visitors.
· Only one of those visitors can be present at any one time and visits should be arranged in advance with the manager of the facility.
· Visitors will be given a time slot for their visit and will have to come and leave at the agreed times.
· Visitors will be asked if they have had Covid- 19 or had close contact with a person with confirmed/suspected Covid-19. In this case you should wait until the 14 days of self-isolation have passed before visiting.
· Visitors should declare that they have no symptoms and undergo a temperature check before being permitted to enter the RCF.
· Any visitors with fever or respiratory symptoms will not be admitted.
· Unplanned visits shall not be facilitated.
· Visitors will be required to sign in and out using their own pen.
· Visitors will need to perform hand hygiene before they enter and when they leave.
· Do not wear disposable gloves instead of washing your hands. Only wear gloves or an apron when you have been asked to do so by staff.
· Visitors are required to wear a surgical mask if they are not able to maintain social distancing during the visit. This surgical mask will be provided by the facility and its disposal will be monitored.
· Visits should occur either in the resident’s room if it is a single room, or if there is more than one resident in the room in a room away from other people or in an outdoor area (weather permitting) where distance can be maintained.
· Visits are limited to less than 30 minutes.
· Each visitor is allowed a maximum of one visit per week.
· No food/ refreshments are permitted.
· Use of the resident’s/visitors’ bathroom facilities is discouraged.
· Children under 16 are not permitted to visit.
· It is OK to bring a gift or other things the person needs when you visit.
If there is an outbreak of COVID-19 or another Infection visiting will stop for some time but there will be exceptions in special situations for example if someone is coming to the end of their life. If there is an outbreak and there are special circumstances, you should check with the manager of the facility.
Head of Social Care of CHO 1 Frank Morrison stated “We know the importance for both residents and their families of having regular visits with their loved ones and are happy to implement this guidance from the HPSC . We wish to encourage people to adhere to it and to work with staff at our facilities to ensure that safety of our residents, visitors and staff is paramount”.