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Families concerned over new visiting restrictions in Dublin nursing homes, charity says

Just one nominated visitor per resident is allowed from today in Dublin nursing homes.

Image: Shutterstock/Halfpoint

THE IMPACT OF visiting restrictions which come into force today are causing concern among families of people in Dublin nursing homes, a charity has said. 

The Department of Health on Friday announced the new restrictions in Dublin nursing homes, allowing just one nominated visitor per resident following the continuing spike in new cases in the capital.

Sarah Lennon, executive director of Sage Advocacy – which provides a support and advocacy service for vulnerable adults, older people and healthcare patients – said the safety of residents must always be the first priority and health measures taken in the public interest must be respected at all times.

Lennon said residents of nursing homes also have a right to see and enjoy visits with their loved ones.

She said: “We are all acutely aware of the risk of Covid-19 and we appreciate that decisions relating to visiting protocols in nursing homes will sometimes have to be taken on a day to day basis.

“But there must also be balances to this approach because we know the risks that social isolation can bring.

“When older or more vulnerable people are physically separated from their family, friends and loved ones and unable to see them it can have a big impact on their well being and their mental health.” 

The decision to restrict visitors was made at a meeting of the National Public Health Emergency Team on Thursday.

The measure is in place on a temporary basis. 

The Department of Health said in a statement: “These measures were deemed necessary in order to protect vulnerable residents of nursing homes. The Department is aware of the difficult challenges these restrictions present for many individuals and families, and the situation will be kept under review.”

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Of the 255 new Covid-19 cases reported today, 156 were in Dublin, the highest by far of any county across Ireland. 

On Friday, the acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn appealed to people living and working in Dublin to limit their contacts over the coming weeks. 

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the government will have no hesitation putting Dublin-specific measures in place to curb the spread of the virus. 

The government will announce its new roadmap for ‘Living with Covid’ on Tuesday with details on how the country will deal with the disease over the next six months. 

- With reporting by Press Association

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