Islanders could soon be physically reunited with loved ones living in care homes for the first time in nearly two months.
New guidance is expected to be issued by the Health Minister by the end of the week or early next.
Elderly residential facilities shut to visitors in early December to keep the island’s most vulnerable safe ahead of the covid-19 vaccine’s arrival.
Nearly two months have passed and hundreds of care home residents have had at least one dose of the vaccine since then, leading Deputy Montfort Tadier to suggest last week that it was time to open up again.
Pictured: Hundreds of care home residents have had at least one dose of the covid-19 vaccine.
Writing to States Members earlier this week to ask if they would support a special States Assembly meeting to vote on whether safe visits to care homes should be allowed to resume immediately, he said: “I would hope that were I in the situation where I were effectively a prisoner in a care home room, without the use of my legs or being able to perform basic tasks for myself, that someone would fight for some common sense and balance so I could at least have something to look forward to in my otherwise very lonely existence e.g. a weekly visit from a family member or friend.”
But the Deputy, whose own mother lives in a care home, today announced that requisitioning a meeting would no longer be necessary.
Following “two productive and helpful meetings” with the Health Minister, he said he had since received assurances that care homes would soon be able to welcome visitors again.
Pictured: Deputy Montfort Tadier said the Minister gave him assurances that new guidance would be coming following two "productive and helpful" meetings.
“The Minister has effectively given an undertaking that new guidance will be issued by the end of this week or Monday which will allow visiting to take place, once the Care Commission and Care Home Managers have been consulted,” he said.
“I believe what is being proposed is much more proportionate and will allow for the emotional wellbeing of residents to be safeguarded, not simply any direct threats to them from the virus.”
He added: “…I know one care home had already taken the decision to write to its residents' family members saying that they would be allowing some visits already, but the new guidance will no doubt facilitate them further and others to do the same.
“I would like to thank members who responded supportively, and have already extended my thanks, which I reiterate here, to the Minister and his team, and law officers, for all the consideration they have given to this matter, as well as their general work stream.”
Health Minister, Deputy Richard Renouf, commented: “I am pleased to confirm that policy is currently in development to reopen care homes to visitors.
"We are liaising with the Care Commission and Care Home Managers as a priority to enable this reopening to occur as soon as possible.
"Policy officers are working on guidance to ensure residents, staff and visitors remain as safe as possible from any risk of covid-19 transmission."
Pictured: Health Minister Deputy Richard Renouf.
He continued: "I am pleased to confirm that vaccination levels amongst care home residents has been high, offering a greater level of protection for these vulnerable residents. With the addition of the mitigation measures being finalised within the policy, we can enable visits to start again as soon as possible.
"I’d like to thank Deputy Montfort Tadier for his interest and commitment to ensure that this policy is at the forefront of our work to reconnect the island.
"Further announcements regarding when visits can safely resume should be expected before the end of the week or Monday.”
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