Visiting nursing homes and residential care facilities

Information:

Residents at nursing homes and residential care facilities can have up to 4 visits per week from 2 people at a time once the care home has had a high level of vaccination.

COVID-19 (coronavirus) can spread quickly and can do a lot of harm if it gets into a nursing home or a long-term residential care facility (LTRCF) where most people are not vaccinated.

You can spread the virus even if you have mild symptoms or have no symptoms and otherwise feel well.

If you have recently arrived into Ireland from abroad, follow the latest Government advice on gov.ie around self-isolation and quarantining.

Visiting

Nursing home and residential care residents may receive up to 4 visits per week once the care home has had a high level of vaccination.

Up to 2 people can visit at a time. The visits do not need to be by the same people each time.

A high level of vaccination means that around 8 out of every 10 staff and residents have been fully vaccinated for at least 2 weeks. Staff at the care home will let you know if there is not a high level of vaccination.

Visits can usually at least 1 hour. Talk to the staff if you need a longer visit.

Follow the advice on this page on how to help keep everyone safe before and during your visit.

Hospital service updates and visiting restrictions (COVID-19)

Low level of vaccination

If there is not a high level of vaccination, residents should expect to be able to have 2 visits from 1 person every week. The visits do not need to be by the same person each time.

Outdoor visiting

Outdoor visiting is always allowed. This is as long as everyone can keep 2 metres apart (social distance) at all times and the resident is OK to go outside. Outdoor visits must be arranged in advance.

Window visiting

Window visiting is always allowed. This is where a visitor stands outside and speaks to a resident at a safe distance through an open window or by telephone. Window visits must be arranged in advance.

Before you visit

The care home will usually ask for contact details for named visitors before the visit.

Talk to the staff before your visit. They will usually give you a specific time slot. You will have to come and leave at the agreed times.

You will be asked some questions before you visit to make sure you do not have any symptoms of COVID-19. You might need to have your temperature taken before you enter the care home.

During your visit

You will have to wear a face covering or face mask when in communal areas.

If you and the resident are vaccinated you do not need to wear a face covering when you are alone together.

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's OK to bring a gift or anything else the person you're visiting may need.

Going for a drive

It's usually OK for residents to go for a drive with their visitors once everyone is fully vaccinated and the facility has had a high level of vaccination.

If you are leaving the car, follow public health advice - maintain social distance, wear a face covering and wash your hands.

You do not need to wear face coverings in the car if everyone is fully vaccinated.

If there is a COVID-19 outbreak

Visiting will usually be limited if there is an outbreak of COVID-19 in the care home. These limits should be in place for as little as possible.

There will be exceptions in special situations. For example, if someone is coming to the end of their life. You can discuss this with the staff.

When you should not visit

Do not visit if you have:

  • COVID-19
  • recently been tested for COVID-19 - wait until you are told it is safe for you to visit
  • symptoms of COVID-19 or any other infection, including a cold or flu
  • symptoms of gastroenteritis, such as diarrhoea and vomiting

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

If you have COVID-19, do not visit until your self-isolation period is over and you have no symptoms. If you are in doubt, check with your GP.

Community support during the COVID-19 pandemic

Last updated: 6 May 2021 at 5.50pm