Nursing homes ban non-essential visits and visits by children, groups

Restrictions apply to 400 private and voluntary homes across Ireland

People in nursing homes are  particularly vulnerable to Covid-19. Photograph: iStock

People in nursing homes are particularly vulnerable to Covid-19. Photograph: iStock


Visiting restrictions have been introduced in more than 400 private and voluntary nursing homes across the country as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

The representative body for the private and voluntary sector, Nursing Homes Ireland, said on Friday that no non-essential visiting or visits by children or groups would be allowed.

“All visitors are asked to contact prior to attending. Visitors should only seek to attend in urgent circumstances and the management reserve the right to impose full restrictions where necessary.”

“We urge prospective visitors to nursing homes to be cognisant and understanding of the measure that is required in the interest of resident and staff safety. Older people and people in nursing homes with pre-existing medical conditions are particularly vulnerable if they contact the virus. The virus presents an unprecedented situation for our nursing homes and the care provided within them. Nursing homes are imposing the visitor restrictions in the best interests of residents and staff. We thank people for their understanding and patience during this period of unprecedented challenges presented by Covid19. “

The HSE has been asked by The Irish Times as to whether similar visiting restrictions are to be put in place in the State and a response is awaited.

Nursing Homes Ireland said it was “monitoring the evolving situation on an ongoing basis and is in continuous contact with the Department of Health, National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET), HSE and all relevant health authorities”.

Meanwhile the Courts Service said the legal issues surrounding any extended shut down of the court system as a result of the coronavirus outbreak were being examined.

In a circular to staff, it said continuity plans for courthouses and buildings were being updated and reviewed.

“Communications plans are being developed for judges, staff and court users .

“An extensive ICT contingency plan is being prepared in the event of Courts Service buildings being unavailable and the legal issues associated with an extended close down are being examined.”

It said additional disinfectant cleaning of public offices and courtrooms had been arranged.

“Disinfectant sprays for public offices and hand sanitisers for public areas will be installed in the coming days.”