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Visiting hospitals - regional Victoria

Find information about how restrictions affect visits to hospitals in regional Victoria.

Summary of restrictions 

From 11.59pm on Thursday 17 June 2021, if you live in regional Victoria:

  • There are no restrictions on the reasons to leave home but staying COVIDSafe remains important.
  • There are no limits on the distance you can travel, and you can travel to metropolitan Melbourne. 
  • No visitors are permitted into hospitals, except for end-of-life reasons, as a support partner for birth, or a parent to accompany a child.

Who can visit hospitals?

There are a number of valid reasons you can enter a hospital.

Some hospitals are choosing to further limit visits. This is best discussed directly with the hospital as these further limits are not due to Department of Health Directions.  

Hospital visitors are only permitted for the following reasons:

  • if you are the parent, guardian or carer of a child who is a patient in hospital
  • if you are providing support that is necessary for the patient’s emotional or physical wellbeing, including support for people living with mental health conditions or dementia  
  • if you are a nominated person under the Mental Health Act, including patients living with dementia, you can visit the patient
  • if you are providing interpreter or informal language support to enable the delivery of care by the care team, you can visit a patient
  • if you are learning to support the patient’s care upon discharge
  • a patient whose medical condition is life threatening can have visitors
  • a patient who is dying and/or receiving end-of-life care can have visitors
  • a patient attending an emergency department or outpatient clinic can have someone accompany them if it is necessary for them to do so
  • a pregnant woman or patient in a maternity ward can have a partner or support person visit (up to two people) or attend hospital with them.

You should contact the hospital before visiting as they may have additional requirements, conditions or restrictions for visitors. This information may also be found on their website.

What are the rules for visiting patients? 

For permitted visits the follow conditions apply:

  • Up to two visitors at one time. 
  • Do not have to be from the same household.
  • No time limits.
  • For permitted purposes only.
  • No more than two visitors per day.
  • A group may exceed the ‘two visitors at a time’ rule if dependents of a visitor (or patient in hospital) are in the group and care for the dependents cannot be arranged.
  • There is no limit on the number of visitors per day to a patient at end-of-life or with a life-threatening condition, however, only two visitors are permitted at any one time.

What are the rules for an end-of-life visit or where the patient is ill with a life-threatening condition?

  • Up to two visitors at a time.
  • Do not have to be from the same household.
  • No time limits.
  • A group may exceed the ‘two visitors at a time’ rule if dependants of a visitor (or patient in hospital) are in the group and care for the dependents cannot be arranged.
  • No daily limit.

When can a patient have a visitor?

Hospital visitors are only permitted for the following reasons:

  • If you are the parent, guardian or carer of a child who is a patient in hospital, you are allowed to visit.
  • If you are providing support that is necessary for the patient’s emotional or physical wellbeing.
  • If you are a nominated person under the Mental Health Act, you can visit the patient.
  • If you are providing interpreter or informal language support to enable the delivery of care by the care team, you can visit a patient.
  • If you are learning to support the patient’s care upon discharge.
  • A patient whose medical condition is life threatening can have visitors.
  • A patient who is dying and/or receiving end-of-life care can have visitors.
  • A patient attending an emergency department or outpatient clinic can have someone accompany them if it is necessary for them to do so.
  • A pregnant woman (who is at hospital for reasons related to pregnancy) or a patient in a maternity ward can have a partner or support person visit (up to two people) or attend hospital with them.

Which types of hospitals are covered by these restrictions?

These restrictions apply to all of the following hospitals, whether operated by government, the private sector or not-for-profit organisations:

  • public hospitals
  • private hospitals
  • denominational hospitals
  • day procedure centre or multi-purpose health services.

Visitors are only permitted for the reasons listed above.

Who can visit a hospital?

Subject to some important conditions listed below, you can visit a hospital if you are:

  • the parent, guardian or temporary carer of a patient aged under 18 years
  • the carer of a patient with a disability
  • the partner or support person of a pregnant woman, whose status as a patient relates to their pregnancy
  • the partner or support person of a patient in a maternity ward, whose status as a patient relates to pregnancy or childbirth
  • providing interpreter or informal language support
  • accompanying a patient to the emergency department
  • accompanying a patient to an outpatient appointment
  • providing end of life support for a patient
  • providing support to a patient whose medical condition is life threatening
  • a Nominated Person of a patient who is in hospital to receive care for a mental illness as defined under the Mental Health Act
  • providing essential care and support for a patient’s physical or emotional wellbeing
  • learning to support a patient’s care once they are discharged from hospital.

You should contact the hospital before visiting as they may have additional requirements, conditions or restrictions for visitors. This information may also be found on their website.

What are the conditions for visiting patients? 

  • For permitted visits the follow conditions apply:
  • Up to two visitors at one time. 
  • Do not have to be from the same household.
  • No time limits.
  • For permitted purposes only.
  • No more than two visitors per day.
  • A group may exceed the “two visitors at a time” rule if dependents of a visitor (or patient in hospital) are in the group and care for the dependents cannot be arranged.
  • There is no limit on the number of visitors per day to a patient at end-of-life or with a life-threatening condition, however, only two visitors are permitted at any one time.

Who is not allowed to enter a hospital?

You must not enter any hospital if any of the following applies to you, unless you have been granted an exemption under exceptional circumstances:

  • are awaiting a COVID-19 test result (unless you are being tested in accordance with the Surveillance Testing Industry List and Requirements)
  • are unwell with any symptoms of COVID-19, including a cough, sore throat, runny nose, shortness of breath, fever, headache, muscle soreness, stuffy nose, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, or loss of sense of smell or taste
  • have a temperature of 37.5 degrees Celsius or higher, or any symptoms of a fever such as night sweats or chills
  • have arrived in Australia within the last 14 days, unless you have come from a green travel zone via a ‘quarantine-free flight’
  • have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and have not yet been given clearance from self-isolation
  • have had known contact in the past 14 days with a person who was a confirmed case of COVID-19
  • are under 16 years, unless you are providing end-of-life support for a patient, or the patient has a life-threatening medical condition, and you are the child, grandchild, sibling or have a kinship relation to a patient, or you are granted an exemption by the hospital and Chief Health Officer to provide end-of-life support (including a life-threatening condition)
  • have visited a Tier 1 exposure site and have been advised to immediately isolate, get a COVID-19 test, and remain isolated for 14 days.

If you have visited a Tier 1 exposure site, you must not enter a care facility until you have completed your period of quarantine and been told by the Department of Health you can stop isolating.

People who have visited Tier 2 exposure sites should urgently get a COVID-19 test and isolate until they receive a negative result. People who have visited Tier 2 exposure site should not visit hospitals until they return a negative result for COVID-19. If they have been tested for COVID-19 and are awaiting a COVID-19 test result, they are not permitted to visit (unless granted an exemption under exceptional circumstances).

Only in exceptional circumstances can a hospital allow a person to visit a hospital if they are a known contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19, or a returned overseas traveller in mandatory quarantine, or have been diagnosed with COVID-19, or are under 16 years (and not a child, grandchild, sibling or have kinship to a patient at end-of-life or with a life-threatening condition). Exemptions can only be authorised by senior hospital staff and, in some instances, must also be approved by the Chief Health Officer / Deputy Chief Health Officer due to the risks involved. Strict conditions may apply to these visits. Please discuss this with hospital staff.

Which types of hospitals are covered by these restrictions?

These restrictions apply to all of the following hospitals, whether operated by government, the private sector or not-for-profit organisations:

  • public hospitals
  • private hospitals
  • denominational hospitals
  • day procedure centre or multi-purpose health services.

Visitors are only permitted for the reasons listed above. 

Are there any special considerations for patients who are receiving palliative care?

Patients at end of life can have up to two visitors at a time, with no limits on the number of visitors per day. Visitors should discuss the duration and total number of visitors throughout the day with the hospital to coordinate visits.

Are there any other conditions placed on visits?

Visitors must comply with all screening and infection control measures put in place by the hospital. Visitors to any hospital or care facility across Victoria must wear a face mask indoors and outdoors. Even with a face mask, you should keep at least 1.5 metres apart from others.

Visitors must also:

  • wash their hands after using lifts, holding railings and every time they enter and exit the patient’s room 
  • follow rules about visitor and time limits
  • limit movement around the hospital as much as possible
  • limit the number of personal items you bring into the hospital
  • follow rules about wearing specific masks, gloves or gowns if requested by staff.

Hospital staff will help you follow these conditions to help keep your family members or friends safe.

Can I visit my pregnant partner for the birth of our child?

As the partner or support person of a pregnant woman, you can attend the labour and birth for as long as required. Up to two support people can attend.

I'm going to hospital to give birth. Can I have two or more people with me?

You can have two support people with you when you come to hospital for labour or birth. The two people include your partner and another support person, or two other support people.

There are no limits on how long your partner or support person can be with you during labour and birth, and they can stay after the birth until you and the baby move to the postnatal ward.

How can I stay in touch with my loved ones in hospital?

People in hospital are unwell or recovering from a medical or surgical condition and can have reduced immunity.

Before you plan your visit, think about your family member or friend and your role in helping to keep them safe from COVID-19. This includes your loved one who:

is elderly

has a chronic medical condition (like diabetes, heart, lung, kidney disease, or low immunity).

You can stay in touch and provide support through phone and video calls and texting.

What are the restrictions on workers?

A worker may enter a hospital only if they are permitted under the Hospital Visitor Directions.

Workers must not enter any hospital if they:

  • are unwell with any symptoms of COVID-19, including a cough, sore throat, runny nose, shortness of breath, fever, headache, muscle soreness, stuffy nose, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, or loss of sense of smell or taste
  • have a temperature of 37.5 degrees Celsius or higher, or any symptoms of a fever such as night sweats or chills
  • arrived in Australia within the last 14 days, unless they have come from a Green Zone Country via a ‘quarantine-free flight’
  • have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and have not yet been given clearance from self-isolation
  • have had known contact in the past 14 days with a person who was a confirmed case of COVID-19
  • are waiting for test results from a COVID-19 test (other than as part of an industry surveillance program)
  • have visited a Tier 1 exposure site and have been advised to immediately isolate, get a COVID-19 test, and remain isolated for 14 days.

Any workers who have visited a Tier 1 exposure site must not enter a care facility until they have completed their period of quarantine and been told by the Department of Health that they can stop isolating.

Any workers who have visited a Tier 2 exposure site should urgently get a COVID-19 test and isolate until they receive a negative result. They should not work until they have been tested and return a negative result for COVID-19. They should isolate until they receive their negative result. If they have been tested for COVID-19 and are awaiting a COVID-19 test result, they are not permitted to attend for work.

A face mask must be worn by all staff and visitors, indoors and outdoors, unless an exception applies.

Reviewed 21 June 2021

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