Care home visits resume, contact limited

Visits to care and retirement homes in Luxembourg are to resume, but with some restrictions to avoid the spread of coronavirus Shutterstock

Visits to care and retirement homes in Luxembourg are to resume, but with some restrictions to avoid the spread of coronavirus Shutterstock

According to government figures, some 90 positive cases of covid-19 were detected in Luxembourg care homes, which currently house 5,765 people. Of the cases, 41 recovered and 29 died, out of a total death toll of 89.

Cahen said the decision to reunite the care home residents with family members was in part motivated by their psychological health.

Health directorate deputy chief Dr Françoise Berthet told Delano last week that several “creative solutions” are being introduced to allow contact between residents and relatives while respecting their safety, via video conferencing and post. However, Cahen said on Tuesday that videoconferencing was not ideal for everyone.

The timing of the reopening will depend on individual care homes and how quickly they can put in place appropriate measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Some, like Sodexo, are installing visitor rooms with plexiglass room dividers.

There will also be strict rules for visitors to avoid contamination. These include:

  • Registering before visiting;
  • respect for social distancing, ie not kissing or hugging;
  • caps on the length of visits and number of visitors;
  • ban on visits by someone with covid-19 symptoms or who had contact with someone who tested positive;
  • for outdoor visits, only children aged 12 or over will be allowed. Indoors, access is only possible for children aged 16 and over;
  • mandatory wearing of mouth protection and hand washing;
  • if the patient requires support for walking, the visitor must wear a single-use, long-sleeved PPE gown;
  • rooms used for visits must be aired for 30 minutes and disinfected between visits.

If facilities are not able to provide safe visits, managers are encouraged to seek other contact options, such as video-conferencing. In these cases, residents should also have access to psychological counselling.

Members of the public have been able to permitted in some care homes to visit a dying person for several weeks. It remains at the discretion of the care home director, however.

Last week, the health directorate launched systematic screening of 10,000 staff and patients in 52 care and retirement homes. By Tuesday, 1,073 people at four homes had been fully tested. Of that number, 14 had tested positive, including 9 staff members and 5 residents.