Visitor restrictions, effective Tuesday, 12 July 2022
Keeping our patients and staff safe is our priority. With the increase in community transmission of COVID-19, we are reinstating some additional visitor restrictions, effective Tuesday, 12 July 2022. These are:
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
- Masks must be worn at all times in our hospitals, including within patient rooms.
- Visitors are asked to wear the N95 mask provided to them on arrival to a clinical area.
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, as we work to keep your loved ones and our community safe.
Requirements for all visitors, effective Tuesday, 12 July 2022
- All adult visitors are required to be up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations or have evidence of a negative rapid antigen test from the day of the hospital visit. Please have your proof of vaccination, vaccination exemption, or date-stamped proof of negative RAT with you at all times when visiting.
- All visitors are required to wear a mask in our hospitals for the duration of the visit, including in patient rooms. Please enter our hospitals with a mask on and continue to wear a mask throughout our hospital. When you arrive at a ward or other clinical area, you will be required to wear an N95 mask that will be provided when you arrive. Visitors who have a mask exemption will be provided with a face shield. You must wear the N95 mask or face shields in all patient rooms, to protect yourself, your loved ones and our hospital staff.
- Please do not visit if there is a positive case in your household or a household member has COVID-19 symptoms and is awaiting a test result.
- Please do not visit any Epworth hospital if you are feeling unwell or have cold and flu symptoms or vomiting and diarrhoea as these infectious illnesses put our patients, visitors and staff at risk.
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:
We are pleased to welcome you to our Epworth Rehabilitation outpatient service and 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 fully vaccinated 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 contact you before you commence your program and ask you questions about potential exposure to sites you may have visited or whether you may have been in contact with anyone who has tested positive to COVID-19. Each time you attend the program you will also be asked these same questions.
What happens if I receive a positive COVID-19 test result?
Please do not come to our hospital. You will be contacted by the Department of Health if you have a positive test and they will advise you of the next steps, including the need for isolation. Call the Epworth Outpatient Department on 1300 345 600 between 9am and 4pm, or the Hospital Coordinator after hours to let us know.
For Epworth Geelong rehabilitation please contact 03 5271 7055.
What happens if I am in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19?
You must let us know as soon as possible. We ask that you do not attend our hospital. Please call the Outpatient Department on 1300 345 600 between 9am and 4pm or the Hospital Coordinator after hours. For Epworth Geelong rehabilitation please contact 03 5271 7055. You must follow instructions from the Department of Health in relation to getting tested and isolation.
What happens if someone I live with is a close contact with someone with COVID-19?
You can still attend your outpatient appointment unless the close contact you live with tests positive for COVID-19. You do not need to get tested unless you are requested to do so by the Department of Health.
Do I have to ‘check in’ and wear a mask during the program?
Yes, you will be asked to 'check in' using the QR code at our front entrance screening station and change your mask to one of our Epworth surgical masks on arrival at the hospital. These steps must all be completed before you enter the outpatient department. You cannot wear your own mask. If you can't check in using a mobile phone, you will be asked to complete the written check-in log book at the desk. Our entry staff will be able to assist you.
Pre-operative COVID-19 testing
All elective procedures undertaken at Epworth will continue to require a negative test within 48 hours of the procedure.
While the preference is a PCR (swab) result, we can now accept a negative 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 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.
All patients will undergo the usual COVID-19 screening questionnaire.
Pre-admission testing is required for:
- All elective surgery
- All procedures including those performed under local anaesthetic
- All planned elective medical admissions including mental health and rehabilitation
- All direct-to-ward admissions
- All interhospital transfers
- Elective caesarean sections and all other maternity admissions (including natural delivery)
- Paediatric admissions.
Patients will be required to return a negative swab result within 48 hours of their admission to hospital.
If you have any questions, please speak to your treating doctor about your individual requirements.
Getting your pre-operative COVID-19 test
A negative result is required for all admissions from Monday, 30 August 2021 onwards, with COVID-19 testing to occur within 48 hours prior to the planned procedure. Patients will need to isolate from the time of testing until they are admitted for their procedure.
All patients are strongly encouraged to attend a testing centre closest to them to have their test.
Melbourne Pathology (MPS) has several available collection sites for pre-operative (ASYMPTOMATIC) patients. Please see the following link: MPS: Testing of asymptomatic pre-operative patients
In addition, Melbourne Pathology (MPS) has three dedicated ‘drive-through’ testing sites that patients can attend with the complete request form: MPS COVID-19 dedicated collection sites
If it is not possible to attend your local testing centre, patients can attend Epworth Testing Clinics located at:
- Epworth Richmond:
Patient Swabbing Clinic
34 Erin St – entrance is 10 metres from Emergency Department entry
Open 8am to 4pm, 7 days a week
Last booking appointment is 3.45pm daily
Bookings required phone: 03 9426 0666
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.
You can find more details about isolating at: Isolating before your surgery (PDF, 53KB)
Outpatient appointments for rehabilitation and mental health services are being held via telehealth. Some of our acute clinics will also hold telehealth appointments, where possible.