New Visiting Arrangements from Friday 7 May 2021
New guidance that will facilitate increased visiting in all care settings in Northern Ireland has been issued, effective from Friday, 7 May 2021. The updated guidance for visiting will apply in all care settings here, including hospitals (including Maternity), hospices and care homes.
When launching this updated guidance, Health Minister Robin Swann said: “I fully recognise the desire for more visiting. Receiving a face to face visit from a loved one is so important to people who are unwell, elderly or vulnerable. Of course, we also have to remain vigilant about the continuing threat from the virus and strike the right balance.”
The new guidance is spread over two documents, with bespoke advice provided dependent on the category of care setting involved:
• 'A Pathway to Enhanced Visiting' sets out a new approach to visiting in hospices and hospitals - including Maternity and other services.
Following the completion of the first formal evidence review on 3 June 2021, we currently remain in the “Gradual Easing” phase of this Pathway (see table in Appendix 1 of the Pathway).
The next review is due to be completed on or just after 22 June 2021.
• 'Visiting With Care – A Pathway' was developed by 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 new approach to supporting safe and proportionate increased visiting in care homes. This includes updated arrangements for the safe management of care home residents receiving visitors, as well as residents being able to visit other households, community facilities and take part in excursions.
Following the completion of the first formal evidence review on 4 June 2021, we currently remain in the “Cautious First Steps” phase of this Pathway (see table in Appendix 1 of the Pathway).
The next review is due to be completed on or just after 11 June 2021.
The documents described which come into effect Friday 7 May 2021 are available below.