Options explored for Christmas care home visiting

THERE are currently no plans to test care home visitors for Covid19 but options are being explored to allow residents to see their loved ones this Christmas.
The Western Trust has said that risk assessments are being carried to explore options around visiting on the run up to Christmas including bringing a care home resident home for a few hours.
However, there are currently no plans to follow England and test care home visitors to allow for safe visiting.
In a recent development, the Government announced that people living in care homes in England will be able to have visits from family and friends by Christmas if the visitors test negative for Covid19.
More than a million Covid19 tests will be sent to care homes over the next month to allow safe indoor visits, and these visits will be allowed across all tiers of coronavirus restrictions.
Executive Director of Nursing, Primary Care and Older People’s services in the Western Trust Dr Bob Brown said he was ‘very interested to hear about the coverage from England’ but the option was not yet being explored here.
Dr Brown said, “We continue to uphold the Minister’s visiting guidance and we are not anticipating a change in the guidance on this side of Christmas on the basis that we are still seeing significant transmission rate in certain areas.
“At present, there is no Northern Ireland position on testing visitors going into care homes and I think if that position changes, it will a ministerial decision and we will follow the guidance,” said Dr Brown.
Dr Brown said he understands that people want to see their loved ones particularly at Christmas, and said visiting options are being explored.

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