Administration of Sacraments to In-patients during the Outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus Infection (Wuhan Coronavirus Infection)
(The following procedures are based on the latest information provided by medical professionals and the Diocesan Commission for Hospital Pastoral Care.)
1. An in-patient who is terminally ill or his/her family may, through the Pastoral Care Unit of the hospital concerned, request that a priest be permitted to visit the patient.
2. The above patient or his/her family may also directly request (whether during or outside the working-hours of the Pastoral Care Unit, or in the case where the hospital concerned does not have a Pastoral Care Unit) the nurse in charge of the ward to permit a priest to visit the patient. If the permission is granted in accordance with item 3 below, and the family itself will arrange for a visiting priest, the Pastoral Care Unit (if any) should still be notified promptly, so that it may liaise with the nurse in charge of the ward and provide follow-up pastoral care for that patient.
3. On receiving the request of the Pastoral Care Unit or that of the family, the nurse in charge of the Ward will ask the “Infection Control Branch” to make an assessment of the patient’s condition.
4. A priest who is permitted to visit an in-patient should observe the regulations of the ward, such as putting on a surgical mask or a protective garb. The nurses will explain how to proceed.
5. Before undergoing a surgical intervention in the hospital, it is advisable, if feasible, for a patient to receive the sacraments (penance, anointing and Holy Communion) first, to avoid possible delay after being admitted to the hospital.
6. Parish Priests should explain to the faithful that the foregoing provisional arrangements for administering the sacraments to the terminally ill in the hospital take the place of the usual arrangements in view of the Coronavirus outbreak.
(Note: The foregoing procedures are only applicable to those who are terminally ill in general. The specific procedures for visiting those confirmed to be infected by the Novel Coronavirus and to be in the terminal stage are not yet available.)