The Department of Health has confirmed changes to visiting arrangements for all care settings from Monday 1 March.
The four UK Chief Medical Officers have recommended that the Regional Alert Level should move back from Level 5 to Level 4 with immediate effect. As a result, the visiting restrictions for all care settings across Northern Ireland as detailed in the visiting guidance will revert to those applying at Level 4.
From Monday 1 March:
- All Health and Social Care Trust facilities in Northern Ireland should now move to facilitate at least one face-to-face visit per week by one person.
- In Hospices, one visitor for one hour daily is recommended where the environment is Covid-19 secure. This means maintaining social distance of up to 2m, attending to hand hygiene and good respiratory hygiene, good ventilation and appropriate use of PPE and wearing face covering.
- In maternity services – one partner will be able to accompany the pregnant woman to dating scan, anomaly scan, early pregnancy clinic, fetal medicine appointments and when the woman is in active labour (to be defined by midwife). Visits in antenatal and postnatal wards will be for one person for up to one hour once a week.
- Care homes that do not have a current outbreak should facilitate a variety of visiting arrangements, including in indoor settings where possible, to enable meaningful contact between residents and their loved ones. Care homes that haven’t already implemented arrangements for care partners are encouraged to do so.
The guidance is subject to local risk assessment. It will be kept under constant review and revised as appropriate.