Coronavirus: Instructions for visits to nursing homes

08/05/2020 (10:30)
Press release
Department of Health

In view of the general relaxation of measures by the Federal Government, the Department of Health has issued new instructions to regulate visits to nursing homes. Visits primarily depend on whether or not a nursing home has been affected by cases of Covid-19. The instructions are also based on the principle of proportionality.

The strict bans on visiting that are currently in force in many cases are a major hardship for many nursing home residents and their families. The Federal Government hands over regulation of visits to institutions to the cantons. In view of the general relaxation of the Federal Government’s measures, the Department of Health has decided to issue new instructions to regulate visits to nursing homes. It has done so in order to provide clarity both for nursing homes and for residents and their families.

Visits primarily depend on whether or not a nursing home has been affected by cases of Covid-19. The space available is another important criterion for visits. Before visits are allowed, each nursing home must submit a visiting concept to the Long-Term Care Division [Abteilung Langzeitpflege] of the Department of Health. The nursing home then publishes the approved concept on its website, along with the date from which visitors are allowed. The Department of Health considers regulation of the following points to be important: Ensuring adherence to hygiene and distancing regulations, protective equipment such as masks or plastic screens, space for visits, number of visitors, procedure for registering visits and recording of personal details for any traceability required (contact tracing), destruction of visitor data after two weeks.

If cases of Covid-19 occur in a nursing home, the ban on visitors must be looked into and arranged with the Long-Term Care Division of the Department of Health. If a ban on visitors is pronounced, the following exceptions apply: People who are dying can receive visits from their loved ones. Pastoral workers and medical staff are allowed, provided that they adhere strictly to FOPH regulations and use personal protective equipment.