Visitors from restricted postcodes discouraged from coming to Austin Health

Visitors from restricted postcodes are being discouraged from visiting hospitals and aged care facilities around Melbourne unless necessary following the reintroduction of restrictions in certain postcodes.

Operations Lead - COVID-19, Liz Murdoch, said Austin Health is also discouraging visitors from these postcodes from coming to our sites.

"Visitors from all postcodes are still permitted access upon completion of successful screening and visitors should not be declined entry on the basis of postcode," Liz said.

"Information has gone up on our social media channels and website asking people to re-think plans to visit patients unless it is necessary, regardless of which suburb they live in.

"Staff are not expected to check the postcodes of visitors but we’ll continue to encourage all visitors to minimise the length of their visit.

"Exemptions as per the visitor policy remain in place for all visitors coming to Austin Health for the purpose of supporting patients or visiting patients in the terminal phase.

"Some changes have been made to our Visitor Policy as the situation with COVID-19 continues to evolve and to ensure our policy complies with the DHHS guidelines.

"While the changes are minor this is a good opportunity to re-familiarise yourself with the Policy and processes we have in place to manage visitors," she said.

Key points in policy include:

  • Patients can have a maximum of two different people visit per day
  • The same two visitors can visit in both two-hour visiting periods
  • Policy outlines where there are supported exemptions e.g. palliative care
  • Children under 16 are not permitted to visit

A copy of the Visitors Access During COVID-19 Pandemic Policy is available on ePPIC.

Liz said that some visitors have asked why Austin Health’s Visitor Policy does not allow for children under the age of 16 to visit.

"The requirement regarding children is in place due to the difficulties associated with ensuring children maintain physical distancing and is in addition to the guidelines provided by DHHS," she said.

"Concerns about the policy raised by staff, patients or visitors are to be handled locally by managers by highlighting the important safety focus and making support aids available to connect patients with loved ones, such as video calls.

"Any matter not able to be resolved locally should be escalated via existing operational lines. Any request for exclusions to the policy must come via the relevant Executive or Divisional Director to the Chief Operating Officer.

"Thank you to all staff for their assistance in applying this policy. We need to be vigilant about managing visitor numbers to keep staff, patients and community safe at this time," Liz said.