A Director of Care in a Cork Nursing Home has appealed for ‘caution’ after new measures were introduced which allow for residents of a nursing home to receive up to two visits a week from external visitors.
Guidelines issued by the Department of Health say two visits per resident per week are now allowed on compassionate grounds. This will be possible following two weeks after full vaccination of approximately 8 out of 10 of all residents and healthcare workers in the nursing home.
Yvonne McCarthy who is the Director of Care in Haven Bay Care Centre said the new measures are welcome, but she said the general public will have to exercise common sense.
“People need to be cautious. We are looking forward to seeing everyone again. It has been a really tough year, but people need to be careful,” she said.
The Haven Bay Care Centre, which is located in Kinsale, will be implementing the new measures from today onwards, but Ms McCarthy said the new measures do not represent a ‘free for all’.
“We need to educate people that it is not a free for all. It does not mean that every resident should get two visits a week. We will be facilitating up to two visits a week where a resident wants it and if the family wants it.
"Some of the residents are happy with the status quo and seeing people through the window, while some residents do want to see people.”
Ms McCarthy and her colleagues remain worried about the current transmission numbers within the community.
“The risk is massive at present as numbers are still high. I am fearful there will be a new wave of outbreaks in nursing homes because the community is not vaccinated. Visitation will be very structured and we will have to be ultra-careful. It only takes one positive person to come in and undo all the previous good work,” she added.
The Director of Care said the rollout of the vaccine for residents and employees of nursing homes nationwide was a huge success.
“The rollout was superb. It has given us a huge level of comfort. Everybody worked so hard and so many sacrifices were made. The families were also so understanding. Thankfully our residents stayed Covid free. I am hoping it will stay that way.”