The Commissioner for Older People for Northern Ireland, Eddie Lynch, has welcomed new visiting guidance for care homes, published today by the Department of Health.

The development of the guidance document, entitled ‘Visiting with Care – A Pathway’ was led by the Public Health Agency and co-produced alongside a stakeholder working group, including the Commissioner, in order to safely increase the number and frequency of visitors in care homes.

Responding to the announcement, the Commissioner for Older People, Eddie Lynch said:

“I welcome the Pathway published today, which will safely permit increased visits between families, enabling care home residents to have more regular, meaningful face-to-face contact with their loved ones over the coming weeks and months.

“The importance of having frequent, personal contact with family and the impact this has on the health and wellbeing of older people, is well documented. I recently raised the urgent need to reconnect residents with their loved ones and today’s announcement by Minister Swann is a welcome step in the right direction.

I understand there will be some people who feel that the scale and pace of change is not quick enough, however I believe this pathway offers a balanced and measured approach where visitation rights are being increased at a pace proportionate to the level of risk.

"I ask that all care homes in Northern Ireland adhere to the new guidance to ensure that families are being granted the number of visits they are entitled to and I would continue to ask families to get in touch with my office if that is not the case.”

To read the guidance in full visit