The Provincial Council of Bizkaia has regulated the departures and visits in residential centers for the elderly and people with disabilities with a new Provincial Order that has entered into force today, March 1st.
In the new regulation, the Provincial Council considers the possibility of receiving visits and outings outside the residence, as they are “essential elements in the physical and emotional health of residents”, with the aim of maximizing their physical and emotional benefits and respecting their right to equal treatment and non-discrimination.
The adaptation of preventive measures in relation to covid-19 occurs, according to the Provincial Council, with a rate of less than 300 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the BAC and “on a downward trend”, an especially low incidence in the centers, and after vaccination of the elderly.
The regional institution recalls that the efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine, used in these centers, is 94.6%, and that after its administration the severity of the disease is lower. The rule will always apply from 7 days after the administration of the second dose.
As explained by the Provincial Council, The visits will be extended to two people per resident, and will continue to be carried out in the centers. They will be, at least, three times a week, for a maximum of 1 hour and taking extreme measures of prevention. These visits can be substituted for departures whenever epidemiological and meteorological conditions allow it.
Visits to the center must be carried out outside the area of habitability and the room of the resident person, except for causes of force majeure.
These face-to-face visits will be complemented with other alternative and telematic systems such as video calls.
In any case, the center will authorize greater frequencies and diversity of visits and / or outings depending on the personal circumstances of the resident person, relationship and dynamics prior to the declaration of the state of health alert.
The Provincial Council adds that these general measures will not be applied in end-of-life situations, where families must be provided with the possibility of saying goodbye to the resident during the terminal and final process.
The exits will continue to be a priority therapeutic walks, avoiding closed or crowded spaces in all cases. They will be carried out with the accompaniment of a maximum of two people, relatives or close friends, and will be possible, at least, outings twice a week.
The centers of Bizkaia must maintain the other measures in force in the disease prevention and containment plans, in such a way that the activity in them is carried out in conditions that allow, at all times, to prevent the risks of contagion and limit their scope in case contagion.
In both visits and outings, all hygiene measures, use of established protections, individual protection if necessary, and distance guidelines must be extreme. Visitors’ temperature will also be taken and asked if they have symptoms.
The difficulty of the resident to tolerate the continued use of the mask should not constitute a reason for impediment to receive visitors, but this will be planned to maintain physical distance as far as possible and in the open air.
Each residential center will prepare a document with the detailed protocol. These measures are applicable in all the centers of the territory, although they may be modulated depending on the epidemiological situation of the center or the environment.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.