Old people’s homes open doors to visitors from Monday

Old people’s homes – in strict virus-led lockdown since March – are to start accepting visitors from Monday (May 18). The rules, however, remain tight:

Explain reports, the idea is for ‘visits by appointment’. They cannot last longer than an hour and a half, should take place only once a week and involve, at the outset, only one visitor at a time.

For old folk in care homes and ‘centres of continuous care’ this will almost certainly be ‘better than nothing’. Indeed, it may save lives, given that the number of suicides in care homes has increased since family visits were forbidden.

Said Lino Maia, president of the CNIS – national confederation of institutions of solidarity: “We’ve had several dramatic situations during this period of confinement that has sadly been very penalising on some old people. The lack of visitors has made our inmates more sensitive”.

The return to visiting however does not allow for any touching. Relatives and friends will have to maintain ‘the correct social distance’ from their loved-ones, ‘respiratory etiquette’ and necessary hand washing, as well as wear masks “preferably surgical masks” says the DGS health information.

Other provisos include a ban on bringing in any personal objects, or indeed any food, drink or even hygiene products.

The DGS ‘orientation’ encourages visits as much as possible to take place in ‘wide, airy space’, preferably gardens if the homes have them.

Only if inmates are bedridden will family members/ visitors be allowed into their rooms – and of course if any of the old folk and or potential visitors are showing symptoms, visits cannot go ahead at all.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com