Hospital visitor restrictions are still in place

Find out what restrictions apply to your health service before you arrive, including the guidelines around current outbreaks.

Mercy Health has measures in place to protect our patients, visitors and staff from coronavirus. On this page, you will find information about your visit to hospital during the coronavirus pandemic. This includes information about 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.

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

Visiting hours

Visiting restrictions remain in place at Mercy Health hospitals and health services. Our restrictions are based on Victorian Government coronavirus regulations. We have also considered the physical spaces on site, because we need to make sure people can stay 1.5 metres apart in clinical areas. This is an important factor in preventing the spread of coronavirus.

AreaWho can visit
Maternity ServicesBirthing Suites: one partner or support person can be present at any time.

Postnatal areas: one partner or support person may visit between 8am–9pm and stay overnight in some circumstances.

One additional visitor may visit between 11am–1pm or 6–8pm.

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), Special Care Nursery (SCN)Mercy Hospital for Women NICU and SCN: parents are welcome at any time, however, because of space restrictions, only one parent can attend the bedside at any one time.

Other visitors are allowed by prior arrangement.

Werribee Mercy Hospital SCN: parents are welcome at any time.

Only two people can attend the bedside at any time.

Siblings and visitors over 12 years of age may visit between 10am–12pm and 2–8pm.

Paediatric WardParents are welcome at any time.

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

Mercy Health O’Connell Family CentreOne partner or support person can visit per day between 8am–8pm.
All other inpatientsPatients can have two visitors at the bedside at any one time during visiting hours.

Visiting hours for the Geriatric Evaluation and Management (GEM) department are from 2–8pm.

Visiting hours for all other inpatient areas are from 12–8pm.

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

All outpatientsTo maintain physical distancing in our small appointment areas, we request that no support people or children over one year old attend with you, unless prior arrangement are made.

In most circumstances a support person can attend with you via Telehealth.

Intensive Care Unit (ICU)/ High Dependency Unit (HDU)Two visitors are allowed at any one time by prior arrangement.
Emergency DepartmentPatients can have one nominated support person.

Support persons may be asked to leave the bedside area to maintain physical distancing requirements when clinical staff are attending patients. They may need to wait outside depending on capacity in the waiting room.

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

Coronavirus wardsPeople with suspected or confirmed coronavirus cannot have visitors.

Approval for extended hours can be discussed at the time of admission.

There may be exceptions for people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

Mercy Mental Health

Clare Moore Building

Ursula Frayne Centre

One visitor per client each day, during visiting hours.

Monday – Friday 3.30–8pm

Weekends and public holidays 9.30am–8pm

Visiting exceptions must be approved by the Nurse Unit Manager.

Community Care Unit

Prevention and Recovery Care (PARC)

Two people can visit at any one time between 8.30am–8pm for two hours only.

Maximum of four visitors per day.

Please use our outside spaces when visiting.

Mother Baby UnitOne visitor per client each day, during visiting hours.

Monday to Friday 4–8pm

Weekends and public holidays 10am–8pm

Visiting exceptions, including dependent children, must be approved by the Nurse Unit Manager.

There may be exceptions to visitor restrictions on compassionate grounds. Please speak to the Manager or Nurse in Charge. Thank you for your support.

Children are only allowed to visit with prior approval.

When you arrive

Coronavirus 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 coronavirus, or you are in quarantine, you must call us before you come to hospital.

Testing patients

Patients who present to hospital and have symptoms, or patients who have been to a listed exposure site, may be tested for coronavirus. 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 coronavirus.

When you arrive, you will come to a screening desk where you will be required to answer a series of questions. The questions include whether you have been to a coronavirus case location.

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.

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 coronavirus or you are awaiting a coronavirus 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 or face-to-face. If you need an interpreter, please tell your doctor 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 coronavirus response

Mercy Health is committed to keeping our patients, visitors and staff safe from coronavirus. 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 coronavirus case is identified among our patients or staff. We also have the ability to safely care for people who have confirmed or suspected coronavirus. Here are some of the ways we are responding to coronavirus.

Do you have coronavirus?

If you have confirmed coronavirus, please call ahead and let your treating team know.

If you suspect you have coronavirus, you may need to get tested. For information about symptoms, when and where to get tested, see the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) 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 coronavirus hotline
1800 675 398

New South Wales
Australian Department of Health coronavirus 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 coronavirus. These wards are in a different part of the hospital to patients who do not have the virus. This helps prevent the spread of coronavirus to patients or staff who do not have the virus.

Caring for patients with coronavirus or suspected coronavirus

If you have coronavirus or suspected coronavirus, 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 coronavirus might be able to return home if it is clinically safe to do so. Others may remain in hospital.

If you have coronavirus 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 coronavirus or suspected coronavirus 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 coronavirus, including symptoms, risks, travel and prevention advice, visit the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) coronavirus 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

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 coronavirus. These changes enable us to continue caring for women and babies, while reducing the risk of coronavirus 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 coronavirus 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 coronavirus. You will only be tested for coronavirus 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 coronavirus, please refer to the government coronavirus 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 coronavirus 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 coronavirus.

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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