A visiting ban remains in place at Midwest hospitals to protect staff and patients during the ongoing public health emergency.
The ban, which was introduced in early March at University Hospital Limerick, the maternity hospital, St John’s, Ennis General, Croom and Nenagh Hospital is unaffected by phase one of easing restrictions.
The UL Hospitals Group says it regrets the distress or inconvenience this has caused for patients and their loved ones, but says it’s necessary to keep the ban in place, while the risk of a second wave of Covid-19 remains present.
The only exceptions to the ban are parents visiting children, birthing partners of women in the delivery ward only, people assisting confused patients such as those with dementia, or those visiting patients who are critically unwell or at end of life.
UL Hospitals Group issued the following statement:
Visitor Ban at UL Hospitals Group remains in place to protect patient and staff safety
UL Hospitals Group has reminded the public of the Mid-West that the ban on visiting at its six hospital sites remains in place, to help protect the safety of our staff and patients during the ongoing Covid-19 public health emergency.
The visiting ban introduced in early March at University Hospital Limerick, University Maternity Hospital Limerick, St John’s Hospital, Nenagh Hospital, Ennis Hospital and Croom Orthopaedic Hospital is unaffected by the activation this week of Phase 1 in the five-phase reopening Ireland’s society and economy.
UL Hospitals Group welcomes the beginning of emergence from the restrictions of the past two months. We regret the distress or inconvenience our visiting ban causes for patients and their loved ones, but it is necessary to keep the ban in place while the risk of a second wave of Covid-19 remains present.
The reasons for limiting movement within our hospitals remain as urgent as they were when the visiting ban was introduced in early March – to minimise the risk of spreading the coronavirus infection among staff and patients within our health facilities, and also within the wider community.
The only exceptions to the ban are as follows:
- Parents visiting children in hospital
- Birthing partners of women in the delivery ward only at University Maternity Hospital Limerick
- People assisting confused patients (e.g. dementia)
- People visiting patients who are critically unwell or at end of life (on a case-by-case basis)
All these exemptions are limited to one person per patient only.
Under the Government’s Roadmap for Reopening Society & Business [available at https://www.gov.ie/en/press-release/e5e599-government-publishes-roadmap-to-ease-covid-19-restrictions-and-reope/], the resumption of normal visiting at hospitals is provided for in Phase 5 of the roadmap, which is scheduled to commence on August 10.
For now, the UL Hospitals Group visiting ban remains in place in line with this guidance, and will be reviewed as we proceed through the phases of the roadmap for reopening society in the coming weeks and months.
Hospitals Group CEO Colette Cowan thanked the public of the Mid-West for their support in recent months, in particular their cooperation with the visiting ban: “The support of the people of the Mid-West during this public health emergency has been truly incredible, but it’s important that we don’t become complacent.”
Ms Cowan added: “We must remain vigilant about limiting spread of this highly contagious disease. It’s important that we don’t risk undoing everything society has done to flatten the Covid-19 curve. Let us all hold firm and follow the guidance that will minimise the risk to society in the crucial time ahead. I’m grateful that the visiting ban has been respected in our hospitals in the past two months, and appeal for your continued support.”
The ban on visitors also applies to patients attending the Emergency Department at University Hospital Limerick and the Injury Units in Ennis, Nenagh and St John’s. We are also urging the public to keep the Emergency Department for emergencies only; a place where priority is given to the seriously injured and ill and those whose lives may be at risk. Anyone else should first consider all the care options available to them in them in their own communities, their family doctors, out-of-hours GP services, or ask their local pharmacies for advice.
Local Injury Units (IUs) at Ennis and Nenagh Hospitals (8am-8pm daily), and St John’s Hospital (8am-7pm, daily) are an excellent option for treatment of broken bones, dislocations, sprains, strains, wounds, scalds and minor burns, without the lengthy wait that can be expected in the ED during busy periods.