Visitor restrictions in health services

Find out what restrictions apply to your health service before you arrive, including vaccination requirements for visitors.

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Mercy Health has measures in place to protect our patients, visitors and staff from COVID-19. On this page, you will find information about your visit to hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes information about changes to a number of outpatient services, changed visiting hours, what to expect when you arrive and how we will continue to deliver the best care in partnership with you and your support people.

Please continue to refer back to this page in case there are any changes due to the pandemic.

For general information about your stay in hospital, please refer to the Patient information guide by your bedside. Please let your treating team know if you do not have a copy.

Visitor restrictions

Visitors – Victoria

  • DO NOT enter the hospital if you are unwell or have been exposed to COVID-19
  • Visitors must show proof of vaccination (see below for information if you are unvaccinated)
  • Visitors must wear a mask at all times
  • Keep a distance of 1.5m from others at all times
  • Please leave bedside areas if asked to do so
Area Who can visit
Maternity Services Birthing Suites: Two support persons can be present at any time, no time limits apply.

Postnatal areas: One partner or support person may visit between 8am–8pm and stay overnight in some circumstances.

One additional person can attend the bedside between 11am–1pm and 6–8pm.

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Special Care Nursery, Paediatric Ward Nursery visitors must wear an N95 mask. Parents are welcome at any time. Siblings can visit in exceptional circumstances only. Please speak to the ward manager

A maximum of two people can attend the bedside at any one time (one must be the parent). The support person may visit during the following hours:

  • Werribee Mercy Hospital: 10am–12pm and 2–8pm
  • Mercy Hospital for Women: 12–3pm and 6–8pm.
Paediatric Ward Parents are welcome at any time.

Only two additional visitors can be at the bedside at any one time between 10am–1pm and 3.30–8pm.

Gabrielle Jennings Centre One nominated support person for two hours between 2–6pm. Other visitors by arrangement with ward staff.
Inpatients Patients can have two visitors at the bedside at any one time during visiting hours (2–8pm).

Please observe room density limits when visiting.

Visiting exceptions for palliative care and end-of-life patients can be discussed with the ward manager.

Outpatients Parents of children attending appointments may attend.

One support person may accompany an adult for all other appointments.

Intensive Care Unit (ICU)/ High Dependency Unit (HDU) Patients can have two visitors at the bedside at any one time during visiting hours (2–8pm).

Please observe room density limits when visiting.

Visiting exceptions for palliative care and end-of-life patients can be discussed with the ward manager.

Emergency Department Patients can have one nominated support person.

Due to limited space, support persons will not be able to wait in the waiting areas. Support persons may be asked to leave the bedside area to maintain physical distancing requirements when clinical staff are attending patients.

Parents of a patient aged under 18 can attend with their child.

COVID-19 wards People with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cannot have general visitors.

Parents of a patient under 18 years old can attend with their child.

 

Area Who can visit
Clare Moore Building Intensive Care Area: One visitor between 2–8pm.

Recovery Care Area: One nominated support person for two hours between 2–6pm.

Ursula Frayne Centre One visitor between 2–7:30pm. Visitors must continue to use the booking system.
Mother Baby Unit One visitor from 4–8pm weekdays and 10-8pm weekends. Additional visitors may be arranged in consultation with the Nurse Unit Manager.
Community Care Unit Two visitors between 9am–8pm.
Prevention and Recovery Care (PARC) One nominated support person for two hours between 2–6pm.

Children are only allowed to visit with prior approval.

Visitors – New South Wales

Each patient can have four visitors a day comprising of: two visitors aged 12 and over and two children aged under 12 years within visiting hours.

Visitors aged 12 and over must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (both doses). Children between 5-12 years of age will require at least one (1) dose of vaccine. You must show evidence of COVID-19 vaccination status when you arrive.

You must wear a surgical mask at all times during your visit and remain in the patient’s room.

There may be exemptions for patients on our palliative care ward who are end of life. Please speak to ward staff.

Mercy Health Albury Weekdays 10am-6pm

Weekends 1pm-5pm

Mercy Care Centre Young Daily 11am-3pm

When you arrive

COVID-19 is still present in the community. That means we need to be careful about everyone entering our hospital.

If you need to come to hospital and you have confirmed or suspected COVID-19, you must call us before you come to hospital.

Testing patients

Patients who present to hospital and have symptoms may be tested for COVID-19. If you are coming to hospital for elective surgery and you feel unwell, you must contact the hospital before you arrive.

Screening

Everyone entering our hospital must undergo screening. The screening process helps us minimise the risk of COVID-19.

When you arrive, you will come to a screening desk where you will be required to answer a series of questions.

The screening process is done on your personal phone via QR code. There are posters on site that explain how to complete this process. There are also staff available in case you need help.

Once you have completed the questions on your phone, you will get a new QR code on your phone. Please take this to the screening desk where you will have your temperature checked.

If you need help or a translator, please speak to staff at the screening desk.

If you arrive after hours, for example if you are in labour, please go directly to the department and you will be screened there.

Visitors – proof of vaccination

From Thursday 13 January, all hospital visitors must show proof of COVID-19 vaccination (both doses) before entry. This is a Victorian Government directive. It does not apply to patients.

If a visitor is not fully vaccinated, they will need to have a rapid antigen test (RAT) and wear a supplied N95 mask at all times on site. Our staff will show visitors how to wear these safely.

Please note:

  • Maternity: If a woman is in labour and their partner or support person returns a positive RAT, it might be possible for you to attend the birth only. This is at the discretion of our COVID-19 consultant. Both the woman and partner/support person will be treated as COVID-positive. The partner/support person who tested positive will not be permitted in the postnatal ward.
  • Outpatients: Outpatients attending appointments are patients and do not need to show proof of vaccination. If they have a support person, they are classified as visitors are need to follow the guidelines above.

Thank you for respecting our staff who are doing their best to keep everyone in our hospital safe from COVID-19.

Masks

Everyone visiting Mercy Health hospitals and health services must wear a mask. This includes inpatients while you are moving about the hospital.

Mercy Health will provide disposable masks at screening points. Remember, wearing a mask does not mean you are protected. The most effective way to protect yourself and others from coronavirus is to maintain good hygiene and physical distancing.

During your stay

If you have COVID-19 or you are awaiting a COVID-19 test, you will need to remain in your room.

Other patients and their visitors must remain in the patient’s room and avoid common areas if possible.

Preventing the spread of infection

  • wash your hands with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand rub every time you enter or leave the building or a room
  • wear a mask at all times
  • aim to stay in your or your loved one’s room and avoid common areas if possible
  • keep a physical distance of at least 1.5 metres from others.

Interpreter services

Interpreters are still available to patients who need them. Interpreting may take place over the phone, video or face-to-face. If you need an interpreter, please tell your doctor, nurse or midwife.

Learn more about your right to receive appropriate communication about your healthcare in a way you understand. If you have any difficulties speaking or understanding English, you have a range of support options depending on your needs.

Free WiFi and staying connected with loved ones

There may be restrictions on who can visit while you are in hospital. We encourage patients to stay in touch with family and friends via phone or video calls. With restricted visiting, this is a good way to keep in touch with people who are important to you. Mercy Health provides free WiFi at all of our hospitals and health services. We encourage patients to bring their personal device to hospital to maintain contact with loved ones.

Involving family in your care and treatment

It is important to us that you understand your health and treatment options. Some patients may want to have a family member present when discussing their care plan with their treating team. The coronavirus pandemic means that your family may not always be able to be physically in the room with you, because of visitor restrictions or safety limits on the number of people who can be in the patient’s room.

Mercy Health has introduced telehealth for patients attending appointments in our Outpatient Clinics, so that patients can invite family to be involved in their care. Family should join the telehealth appointment from home. Only the patient will be allowed into the clinic at this time.

Inpatients can also have family involved in their care and treatment via video calls. Please speak to your treating team if you wish to arrange a video call.

If you have any questions or concerns during your stay, please speak to your treating team.

Our COVID-19 response

Mercy Health is committed to keeping our patients, visitors and staff safe from COVID-19. Our staff have undertaken additional training in infection control and prevention. Staff are screened before each shift and are not permitted to come to work if they are unwell. We have also increased cleaning at our hospitals and sites.

Mercy Health has processes in place to respond if a COVID-19case is identified among our patients or staff. We also have the ability to safely care for people who have confirmed or suspected COVID-19. Here are some of the ways we are responding to COVID-19.

Do you have COVID-19?

If you have confirmed COVID-19, please call ahead and let your treating team know.

If you suspect you have COVID-19, you may need to get tested. For information about symptoms, when and where to get tested, see the Department of Health website (opens in new window) There is a helpful self-assessment tool on the site.

If you are still not sure whether you should get tested, please contact:

Victoria
Department of Health and Human Services COVID-19 hotline
1800 675 398

New South Wales
Australian Department of Health COVID-19 Health Information Line
1800 020 080

Please keep Triple Zero (000) for emergencies only.

Coronavirus wards

Mercy Health has dedicated wards for patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19. These wards are in a different part of the hospital to patients who do not have the virus. This helps prevent the spread of COVID-19 to patients or staff who do not have the virus.

Caring for patients with COVID-19 or suspected COVID-19

If you have COVID-19 or suspected COVID-19, you will be placed in an area that is equipped to look after your medical needs. This will differ depending on the severity of your case. Some people with COVID-19 might be able to return home if it is clinically safe to do so. Others may remain in hospital.

If you have COVID-19 and you are being cared for in hospital, the staff caring for you will be wearing full personal protective equipment (PPE). This includes gowns, gloves, a mask and eye protection. Staff change their PPE every time they enter or leave a patient’s room. This helps prevent the spread of infection.

Patients with COVID-19 or suspected COVID-19 cannot have visitors. We encourage you to use your phone or personal device to stay connected to family and friends while you are in hospital. Mercy Health offers free WiFi in our hospitals and health services. You can also choose to have family involved in your consultations via phone or video call.

More information

For information about COVID-19, including symptoms, risks, travel and prevention advice, visit the Department of Health website(opens in new window)

Consistent and reliable information is important in an emergency. Wherever possible, Mercy Health will refer to the relevant government authority instead of repeating the information on this page.

Information for specific patients

Outpatients

Changes to outpatient appointments

If you have an outpatient appointment booked at Werribee Mercy Hospital, you might receive a call to say your appointment has been rescheduled or changed to telehealth.

This is a temporary measure to help us focus our resources on the most acutely unwell patients in hospital.

Thank you for your understanding.

Maternity patients

Being aware of your baby’s movements during pregnancy is one of the simplest things you can do to help keep your baby safe and healthy. Regular and healthy movements are a good sign of wellbeing. If you are concerned about your baby’s movements please contact us.

Mercy Health has made some necessary changes to services in response to the current outbreak of COVID-19. These changes enable us to continue caring for women and babies, while reducing the risk of COVID-19 in our hospitals.

  • Clinic appointments:
    • Some appointments are now held via telehealth. If you have been identified as a suitable candidate for a phone appointment, you will be contacted directly. We will provide further details by phone or by mail prior to your appointment. Please notify us if your contact details change.
    • For some pregnancy appointments, you will still be required to attend the hospital. We will let you know which appointments you are required to attend throughout your pregnancy.
    • If you are worried or have concerns about your pregnancy or your baby’s movements, please speak to your doctor or midwife or contact:

Mercy Hospital Emergency Department on 8458 4000 or

Werribee Mercy Hospital Maternity Assessment Unit on 8754 3398

  • Childbirth education and hospital tours:
    • Mercy Health has canceled face-to-face childbirth education and hospital tours until further notice.
    • We recommend the Raising Children website as an alternative online education resource for parents.
    • For further information, please speak to your doctor or midwife at your appointment.

For more information about COVID-19 and pregnancy, please see the resources listed at the bottom of this page.

Emergency Department patients

All patients presenting to the Emergency Department will be screened on arrival. This involves taking your temperature and asking you some questions so we can assess whether you might be sick with or at risk of developing COVID-19. You will only be tested for COVID-19 if you meet the criteria for testing. You will be given more information about this when you arrive.

Please refer to the section on ‘visitor restrictions’ for information about visiting our Emergency Department. Please note that support persons may not be able to wait in the Emergency Department waiting area due to space restrictions.

Please do not come to the Emergency Department if you do not need to. If you have questions or concerns about COVID-19, please refer to the government COVID-19 hotlines and resources listed at the bottom of this page.

Information for parents with sick children

The Werribee Mercy Hospital emergency and paediatric departments continue to provide emergency and inpatient care for all children aged 0-18 with medical problems during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If your child is unwell and you are concerned, do not to delay seeking medical advice. We do not want children to become very unwell at home due to fear of exposure to COVID-19.

In an emergency, call Triple Zero (000) or visit your nearest Emergency Department.

You can also contact Nurse-On-Call 1300 606 024, the Maternal Child Health Line 132 229 or your local GP.

Mercy Hospital for Women access

Mercy Hospital for Women is working closely with Austin Health next door to make sure that we are protecting the health and safety of everyone who visits our shared building.

Please note:

• there are two public lifts available from the carpark, both of which will stop at level 1 for screening
• one public lift is available from Level 1 to Level 6.

All visitors and clinic patients must complete an online screening check. Please follow the instructions on how to use the QR code or report to the screening desk for assistance. You will be required to have your temperature checked on arrival to Level 1 as part of our screening process.

The Mercy Hospital for Women Emergency Department (ED) entrance is closed.

  • If you are in labour or in an emergency, you can park in one of two designated five-minute parking spots at the Mercy Hospital for Women main entrance. This is the podium entrance, accessible via Studley Road.
  • Other patients can access the ED via the Mercy Hospital for Women carpark. Take the lift to Level 1.
  • There will be two public lifts from the carpark, both of which will stop at level 1 for screening.
  • One public lift will be available from Level 1 to Level 6.
  • There are a limited number of 30-minute parking spaces on the podium for outpatient pick-up and drop-off, however patients are encouraged to use the carpark where possible.

Please call ahead in an emergency: 8458 4000.

Help prevent the spread of infection

Everyone can help prevent the spread of infection by practicing good hand hygiene and maintaining a physical distance from other people.

Simple steps for everyone to follow:
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use a tissue and cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, or cough into your elbow or upper arm. Dispose of tissues in the bin.
  • Try not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Stay at home if you feel unwell.
  • Continue healthy habits (drink water, eat plenty of fruit and vegetables and get enough sleep).
  • Get a flu shot once these are available.
  • Avoid close contact with people outside your immediate family or household members (such as touching or shaking hands).

Last reviewed February 13, 2020.

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