Full visitor restrictions for nursing homes need to be revisited because of increased Covid-19 community transmission numbers, according to Nursing Homes Ireland.

CEO Tadhg Daly called on the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) to publish guidelines for nursing homes at a national and local level.

Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, he said that "high levels of community transmission" mean "it is opportune for existing public health measures to be bolstered", including "full visitor restrictions" where appropriate.

He said NPHET needs to consider "the fact there has been a spike in community transmission" and the impact that could have on nursing homes.

"The potential for further outbreaks in nursing homes is something that all of us are very concerned about. We think it is appropriate and right that public health would revisit the particular guidelines," said Mr Daly.

"There were 190 cases yesterday and 200 on Saturday last," he added.


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Mr Daly said the numbers of Covid-19 cases experienced in nursing homes a number of weeks ago mirrored community transmission rates.

"It is a very concerning time for all of society but particularly all of us in the nursing home sector," he said.

"We think it is an appropriate time to revisit the issue of visitor restrictions. Clearly, no one wants to introduce visitor restrictions but the priority here is the safety of residents and staff in nursing homes.

"Given the high levels of community transmission we believe it is opportune for existing public health measures to be bolstered in terms of securing the safety and welfare of nursing home residents.

"We are very concerned. We believe it is opportune for public health, in consultation with the nursing home sector, to revisit those restrictions with the potential to moving to more restrictive measures."

According to Mr Daly, those measures would include full visitor restrictions. However, he added these restrictions could also be considered on a local basis.

"Hopefully the National Public Health Emergency Team, when they meet tomorrow, will give some consideration to the safety and welfare of residents in nursing homes and visitor restrictions where appropriate," he said.

"If there is a spike in community transmission in a local area, I think it is both appropriate and right that visitor restrictions would be reintroduced."

Sandra Farrell, the operator of Patterson's Nursing Home in Roscrea, Co Tipperary, also called for clarification from NPHET on guidelines or guideline revisions for nursing homes.

"We are looking for guidelines to be made at a local level instead of just a blanket of national guidelines," said Ms Farrell.

Her comments come as many families contacted her nursing home today querying whether they could visit following restrictions placed on vulnerable and elderly people.

She said clear guidelines are needed for families and nursing homes.

The Department of Health said additional measures for long-term residential care facilities were introduced on 7 August for Kildare, Laois and Offaly.

These included the suspension of visits to hospitals, nursing homes, long-term residential care facilities and prisons.

It added that "protective visitor restriction measures are kept under ongoing review by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre in line with the disease trajectory in order to balance the need to restrict visitors with the importance of vulnerable residents being able to spend time with loved ones".