Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

19.29 29 Jul 2020


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The owner of a nursing home says it's 'great altogether' that children can now visit their grandparents in nursing homes again.

However, he also stressed that homes 'aren't rushing into' any easing of visiting restrictions, despite new guidelines coming into effect today.

Visits to nursing homes were halted in March, with some visits resuming last month as part of the reopening of the country.

From today, nursing home residents can now have as many nominated visitors as they wish, rather than just two - although visits will still in general be limited to two people at a time.

The length of a visit has been extended from 30 minutes to one hour.

Diarmuid Ó Dálaigh, owner of Oaklodge Nursing Home in Cloyne, Co Cork, said there is still a lot of apprehension in the sector.

'It's great altogether' - Children now allowed visit grandparents in nursing homes

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He told The Hard Shoulder: "We've only had outside visiting in a covered area so far.

"We're delighted with the relaxation, and we will continue with outside visiting at the moment... allowing children or grandchildren, which is great altogether. There's [also] an extended time period - the half hour was very short.

"Every facility, however, has to judge what is the best and safest way to go forward. We're taking baby steps, to keep it all safe."

He said some visitors have said they'd not prefer visitors at the moment, as they feel quite safe in the home.

However, he said that will be balanced with allowing family members visit when there's any sudden change in a resident's health or condition.

'Good news for residents'

Tadhg Daly, CEO of Nursing Homes Ireland, also noted that the residents themselves play a vital part in decisions around visitation.

He said: "I think it's important that we listen to the voice of older people: despite all the HSPC and HSE guidance... the best person that will decide about visits is the older person."

Mr Daly said the pandemic has been "very challenging" for the sector, which he said effectively became "the frontline" in the COVID-19 outbreak.

He said there has been a "significant improvement" in the past few weeks, with less than 30 clusters across nursing homes.

He said: "Restrictions were eased first of all back on the 15th June, and now they've been further eased, effective from today.

"It's good news for residents, and good news for family members who can now extend the period in which they can visit their family member in a nursing home. But we still need to be vigilant, obviously.

"Despite the fact there has been a relaxation, we can't have large numbers through any facilities at this point in time."

Mr Daly said they're also relying on families, as they "understand the implications if we leave our guard down".

Main image: File photo. Picture by: Isabel Infantes/EMPICS Entertainment

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