• Important COVID-19 reminder: Requirements for all visitors, effective Friday, 18 November 2022

    While COVID-19 restrictions have been eased in the community, our priority is to protect our patients, staff and doctors.

    Please do not visit any Epworth hospital if you are feeling unwell, have cold and flu symptoms or have tested positive for COVID-19.

    We also ask you refrain from visiting, if there is a positive case in your household or a household member has COVID-19 symptoms and is awaiting a test result.

    All visitors are required to wear a mask in our hospitals for the duration of the visit. Please wear one of the hospital-supplied masks available at the entrance of our sites, and continue to wear it throughout our hospitals, including in patient rooms.

    Masks for patients

    With the current low rates of community transmission of COVID-19, we have reduced mask requirements within our hospitals.

    From 10 March 2023, surgical masks can now be worn in clinical areas. For high-risk areas, an overhead strap N95 mask must be worn at all times.  High-risk areas include our Emergency Departments, ICU, DMU/Dialysis and Oncology areas. Please seek assistance from our staff if you are unsure of these requirements.

    Thank you for helping keep our patients, staff, doctors and visitors safe.

    Please follow all instructions and treat our staff with respect.

    Visitor restrictions below:

    Ward Visiting hours
    General Wards and ICU
    • Two visitors per patient for a maximum of two hours each day.
    • This means two visitors at the same time or one visitor in the morning and one in the afternoon. 
    • 10am - 8pm daily
    Rehabilitation and Mental Health
    • Two visitors per patient, for a maximum of two hours each day.
    • 4pm - 8pm weekdays
    • 10am - 8pm weekends 
    Maternity at Epworth Freemasons and Epworth Geelong
    • Post-natal wards: Two visitors, not including the support person (this number includes children) for a maximum of two hours per day between 10am - 1pm and 4pm - 7pm.
    • Birth suite: two support people permitted
    • Special Care Nursery: parents only

    Current restrictions for areas that care for more vulnerable patients remain unchanged:

    Day oncology, dialysis  No visitors permitted 
    Emergency Departments at Epworth Richmond and Epworth Geelong  One person may accompany those seeking care in our Emergency Departments. 

    Patients receiving end of life care are exempt from the above guidelines and may have visitors, in discussion with treating teams. Visitor exemptions can also be authorised by the treating team to support the essential emotional and physical wellbeing of patients.

    We know these restrictions are challenging but we request all visitors treat our staff with kindness and follow all instructions provided, as we work to keep your loved ones and our community safe.

  • FAQs for Maternity patients

    Epworth Freemasons and Epworth Geelong Maternity Units

    We are doing everything possible to minimise potential exposure to COVID-19 within our hospital.

    We have a number of protocols in place to protect you, your care team and other families.

    For the latest information, please click on the relevant link:

  • Rehabilitation outpatients

    We are pleased to welcome you to the Epworth Rehabilitation outpatient service and thank you for trusting us to care for you. These FAQs should answer most of the questions you may have in relation to attending your outpatient program in a COVID-safe way. Please don’t hesitate to ask any of the team if you have any other questions that are not answered below.

    Do I need to be COVID-19 vaccinated to attend the program?

    The Victorian Department of Health recommends that all eligible Victorians get vaccinated against COVID-19. In order to protect yourself, our staff and your fellow patients, we do recommend that you are up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccinations if you are attending an outpatient program onsite at one of our hospitals. If you have concerns about being vaccinated, please discuss this with your doctor who will provide you with individual clinical guidance. You will be asked about your COVID-19 vaccination status before you start the program for our records. Your vaccination status does not determine whether or not you can attend the program.

    Will I be asked questions about my contacts, potential exposure to COVID-19 and whether I am vaccinated before I attend the program?

    Yes, this is called ‘screening’. One of our team will ask you questions about potential exposure to COVID-19, whether you have been in contact with anyone who has tested positive to COVID-19 and confirm that you do not have any cold or flu-like symptoms. Each time you attend the program you will be asked these same questions.

    What happens if I receive a positive COVID-19 test result?

    Please do not come to our hospital. For information from the Department of Health after testing positive please refer to the Checklist for COVID cases. It is important that you call the relevant outpatient department at the hospital you are attending and let us know of your positive test result. Your treating team will also provide advice on when you can resume your program on site.

    What happens if I am in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or if I have symptoms of COVID-19?

    Please call the outpatient department at the hospital you are visiting and let us know as soon as possible. Our team will provide advice on next steps including any testing requirements and if you can continue to attend. For information from the Department of Health regarding COVID contacts please refer to the Checklist for COVID contacts.

    Do I have to wear a mask during the program?

    Yes. You will need to wear a hospital-supplied mask during the program. You cannot wear your own mask. You will be supplied with a mask at the entrance to our hospital. Please speak with your treating team if you have any questions about this.

  • Pre-operative and Pre-Admission COVID-19 testing

    All elective procedures undertaken at Epworth will continue to require a negative test within 48 hours of their admission to hospital.

    Pre-admission testing is also required for:

    • All procedures including those performed under local anaesthetic
    • All planned elective medical admissions including mental health and rehabilitation
    • ECT
    • All direct-to-ward admissions
    • All interhospital transfers
    • Elective caesarean sections and all other maternity admissions (including natural delivery)
    • Paediatric admissions.

    We can now accept a negative PCR (swab) or Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) result that has been undertaken up to 48 hours ahead of admission.  A RAT result screenshot or image with a date stamp must be provided on admission.

    All patients, regardless of whether they are submitting a PCR or RAT result, should:

    • be tested within 48 hours of their admission
    • isolate after the test

    Any patient who is unable to obtain a RAT should undergo PCR testing.  If the result has not returned in time for surgery, additional screening and testing will be considered to avoid delay/cancellation and will be provided as part of our admitting process.

    Epworth is unable to provide pre-admission PCR or Rapid Antigen Tests to patients.  A patient can present a RAT they have obtained in the community or at a public testing site, in place of a PCR, but it must meet the criteria outlined above.  Click here to find your closest local testing site. 

    Melbourne Pathology (MPS) has several available collection sites for pre-operative (ASYMPTOMATIC) patients including a “drive-through” site.  Please ensure you have your completed request form when attending.  Please see the following link for locations: MPS COVID-19 dedicated collection sites

    All patients will also undergo the usual COVID-19 screening questionnaire.

    If you have any questions, please speak to your treating doctor about your individual requirements.

    Isolating after testing

    It is important that patients self-isolate after their test, until the time of their admission to hospital (no matter what the test results are).

    Please don’t put yourself and others at risk by going to work, school or public places, unless you need medical help or in an emergency.

    If you are unable to self-isolate prior to your admission to hospital, please discuss your situation immediately with your specialist.

    If you are dependent on a carer, your carer should also get tested and then isolate with you, prior to your admission to hospital.

    We advise against using public transport, taxis or Ubers during your isolation. If you have no alternative transport options, please wear a mask.