More nursing home visits allowed from today . . . but caution still reigns supreme

From today, residents of long-term residential care homes can have two visits per week.

But nursing homes throughout the north west are continuing to adopting a cautious approach when it comes to opening up their facilities.

Guidelines from the Department of Health say visits twice a week will be allowed on general compassionate grounds from today, where a facility has a high level of vaccinations.

Over the past three months, some visits were allowed on compassionate grounds but there are residents who have not physically met a loved one since December.

However, window visiting has always been allowed and for some, this has been their only sight of family, relatives and friends.

While some nursing homes remain cautious about allowing more visits from today, the National Public Health Emergency Team says there is an obligation on nursing homes to implement the guidelines.

However, there was a mixture of reactions to the new guidelines from nursing homes contacted by Ocean FM News.

Some said they were allowing the visits, and were delighted residents could meet loved ones twice a week.

However, others pointed out they never had Covid in their facilities and would continue to adopt a cautious approach.

One nursing home in Donegal, where Covid numbers remain relatively high, said it was not going to put residents at risk by allowing extra visits just yet.

‘They are telling us to open up to the most vulnerable group of people yet they are also telling us there is a new variant out there and that the vaccine might not be effective against it,’ another said

Nursing Homes Ireland welcomed news of the extra visits being allowed.

But CEO Tadhg Daly says people still have to be careful.