Visits to homes for the elderly will resume next week

Homes for the elderly may start to receive visitors as from 18 June, while their residents will be allowed to go out as from next month, though a number of precautions must be observed.

In a statement, the Parliamentary Secretariat for Active Ageing said that after consulting with the Public Health Authority, the Social Care Standards Authority issued a new circular to all residential facilities for older persons. Its provisions do not yet apply to the St Vincent de Paul Residence, but applies to all other government, church and private-owned homes for older persons.

As from 18 June, homes can admit visitors – a maximum of 2 per visit – without the need of Perspex or glass barriers. Each home will need to identify a spacious, well-ventilated area where these visits are to take place, and reserve a 12-metre area including a comfortable armchair for residents and 2 additional chair for their visitors.

No physical contact is yet allowed, however – a distance of 2 metres must be kept – and every visitor must be screened for fever and other possible symptoms of Covid-19. Visitors and residents alike must wear surgical masks or visors, unless health considerations require otherwise.

Appointments will need to be made, and the number of visitors at any one time shall be limited. Visits should only last 15 to 25 minutes.

Residents may also request services such as hairdressing, though such visits would require similar precautions.

The next phase would begin on 1 July, when residents may start to request to go out of the home. Homes are asked to guide them on the risks associated with different activities when they do.

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