COVID-19: Visiting in Care Settings in Northern Ireland

Date published: 23 September 2020

Last updated: 26 April 2022

Covid-19: Visiting in care settings in Northern Ireland. 

 

Details

Visiting Arrangements for All Care Settings

The Department's Covid-19 visting guidance for all care settings here, including hospitals (incl. Maternity), hospices and care homes, is spread over two documents, with bespoke advice provided dependent on the category of care setting involved:
 

  • 'A Pathway to Enhanced Visiting' sets out the recommended approach to visiting in hospices and hospitals - including Maternity and other services.

Following the completion of the most recent review, it is considered appropriate to remain in the “Gradual Easing” phase of this Pathway. The next scheduled review is due to be completed by the end of May. 

NOTE: In certain circumstances, local decisions may have to be made by Hospices or Health & Social Care Trusts (HSCTs) to apply additional restrictions for limited periods to protect patients, families and staff. This could include specific concerns regarding clinically extremely vulnerable patients or local incidents of infection outbreak in a hospice, hospital and/or evidence of rapidly increasing community transmission or outbreaks.  
 

  • 'Visiting With Care – A Pathway' was developed in partnership with the Public Health Agency, working with representatives from the statutory sector, representatives from various relatives’ groups and independent healthcare providers.  It sets out an agreed approach to supporting safe and proportionate visiting in care homes. This includes arrangements for the safe management of care home residents receiving visitors, as well as residents being able to visit other households and community facilities, as well as taking part in excursions.

Following the completion of the latest formal evidence review, it was agreed that we should remain at the “Further Easing” phase of the Pathway. With effect from 2 May 2022, a new risk assessed method of managing visiting during outbreaks is also to be used, replacing the previous requirement for all visiting to cease during an outbreak.

The next scheduled formal evidence review will be undertaken in May, with the outcome published as soon as possible thereafter.

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