5th Oct 2020
Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Ms Joan Pereira
MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC
Question No. 89
To ask the Minister for Health for the mental and social well-being of our seniors in nursing homes, whether up to five designated visitors for each nursing home resident can be allowed, instead of two currently, though the current arrangement of only one visitor can visit each day can remain for the safety of our seniors.
1 Seniors residing in nursing homes are typically frail and more vulnerable to complications of COVID-19 infection. To safeguard their health, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has implemented a suite of precautionary measures in nursing homes from the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, including the suspension of face-to-face visitations on 2 April 2020.
2 The limitations on face-to-face visitations has been important in keeping the risk of infections in nursing homes low. However, recognizing that prolonged suspension of visitations will have an adverse impact on the well-being of seniors and their loved ones, MOH has allowed nursing homes to cautiously resume face-to-face visitations in Phase Two from 19 June 2020. Visits were subject to strict safe management measures, including capping the number of designated visitors at two, allowing only one designated visitor at any one time, as well as limiting the duration of the visit.
3 From 31 July 2020, nursing homes were allowed to make further adjustments to the visitation guidelines, in view that community numbers were low and stable. One of the adjustments was to allow four designated visitors per resident, up from two previously, while maintaining the limit of one designated visitor at any one time. Nursing homes also have the discretion to allow a resident to have more than four designated visitors for exceptional circumstances, such as compassionate reasons, or to allow more members of large families the opportunity to spend time with a loved one.
4 We will continue to monitor the well-being of our seniors in nursing homes and review the restrictions on visitations as the COVID-19 situation evolves.