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Visiting nursing homes and residential care facilities

Last updated: 25 September 2020 at 11.25am

Anybody can become infected with COVID-19 (coronavirus). If you do, you may have a very mild illness or not have any symptoms.

Even if you have a very mild infection or no symptoms you can still pass on the virus to someone else. COVID-19 can make anyone seriously ill. But for some people, the risk is higher. This includes older people and people who have health problems.

The infection can spread very quickly and can do a lot of harm if it gets into a nursing home or residential care facility.

Read more about how COVID-19 is spread.

Before you visit

Visits to nursing homes and residential care facilities are suspended in some counties. The only exceptions to this are for critical and compassionate circumstances. For example, end of life. Visit for more information about levels of restrictions across Ireland.

The nursing home or facility will usually ask for contact details for named visitors in advance.

The number of named visitors is limited to 4 visitors per resident, but each resident can only have 1 or 2 named visitors at any one time.

Check in advance before your visit. The staff will usually give you a specific time slot. You will have to come and leave at the agreed times.

A child can visit if an adult is supervising them and they can follow the visiting regulations.

The management of the facility has the right to decide if visiting is possible or not. It can be distressing if you cannot visit your loved one. Any restrictions are only in place to keep you, your loved one and healthcare staff safe.

Read about minding your mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

During your visit

Visiting is possible if there isn’t a COVID-19 outbreak in the home or facility.

You will have to wear a face covering or face mask during your visit. You may also be asked to wear a protective apron.

You will still need to do all the other things to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

Wash your hands properly before and after you enter the resident's area.

It is OK to bring a gift or other things they need when you visit.

Visits are usually limited to 1 hour. Talk to the staff if you need a longer visit for compassionate reasons.

If there is a COVID-19 outbreak

Visiting will usually not be possible if there is an outbreak of COVID-19 in the home or facility. There will be exceptions in special situations. For example, if someone is coming to the end of their life or the outbreak is in a confined area. You can discuss this with the staff.

When you should not visit

Do not visit if you have:

If you have any of these symptoms, wait until at least 2 days after any symptoms have gone before visiting.

If you are a close contact, you will need to wait until you have restricted your movements for 14 days.

If you have been tested for COVID-19, do not visit until you are told that it is safe to do so.

Related content

People at higher risk from COVID-19

Community support during the COVID-19 pandemic

Hospital service updates and visiting restrictions (COVID-19)

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