Elderly hospital patients awaiting discharge must be allowed visitors – Seery Kearney

25th May 2021 - Mary Seery-Kearney

Fine Gael Senator Mary Seery Kearney has today called for an amendment to hospital restrictions on visitors to patients who are awaiting discharge dependent upon the provision of homecare packages.

Senator Kearney said, “A large number of patients have been admitted to hospital over the past year, some with Covid, many of whom are elderly, infirm or with early stage dementia.  While they are no longer suffering from whatever condition obliged their admittance into hospital, their discharge is contingent upon homecare supports being put in place to support their independent or supported living at home.

“These people need to be facilitated to return home as soon as possible. It is preferable that their home care provisions are expedited as quickly as possible, but where there are delays it is not reasonable for these vulnerable patients to be denied visitors.  Many are unable to use their mobile phones, either through infirmity or incapacity, and so their wellbeing is being affected by the disconnect from their families.

“I raised this matter in the Seanad as I believe urgent action is needed. I am calling on the Minister for Health to issue instructions to hospitals to facilitate visitors to this discrete group of patients, along the same lines as nursing home visits.  A system of passes could be administered to this group to facilitate a weekly visit by family members until such time as their discharge. This would not affect the general arrangements in place for hospitals, but would make a significant difference to the well-being of these patients.

“Seanad Leader Regina Doherty responded in support of my call and agreed to write to the Minister on behalf of the Seanad requesting special provisions for these hospital patients.

“We cannot leave the most vulnerable behind, this group must be catered for,” concluded Senator Seery Kearney.

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