FAMILY AND friends will be able to visit their loved ones in nursing homes starting from today, as restrictions introduced to protect residents from Covid-19 are eased.
As part of the reopening of the country, and with numbers of confirmed cases continuing to drop day by day, nursing home residents will be allowed to receive up to two visitors who can drop by for up to half an hour at a time, provided that the home does not have an outbreak of Covid-19.
For many, it will be the first time they have seen their loved one face to face in almost three months.
While there are still restrictions in place regarding nominated visitors and time limits on the visits, it is a welcome move for many who have been separated from their families since March.
Nursing Homes Ireland last week said the move to ease nursing home restrictions was a welcome one, with CEO Tadhg Daly stating:
“We acknowledge all those that have supported the nursing home in protecting residents by staying away and we acknowledge the sacrifice that families and friends of residents have made by not visiting in person over the last while.”
However, he said "we need to remain vigilant about protecting the safety of all residents, staff, and visitors to nursing homes as part of the ongoing challenges presented by Covid19."
Mr Daly told FM 104 today that Nursing Homes Ireland has helped to develop an app "to ensure that people can register and...sign and confirm various items, including that they don't have Covid, that they have no temperature."
Nursing homes were to be remain closed to visitors until Phase 3 due to the high risk of Covid infections, but Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said that the "conditions were right" to bring it forward.
Older people's advocacy group Sage Advocacy said that friends and family members of nursing home residents are "counting down the minutes" until they are reunited with their loved one.