COVID-19: Important changes for visitors to Forensicare

COVID-19: Important changes for visitors to Forensicare

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, we have introduced screening measures for visiting Forensicare’s services.

Update: As of Monday 25th May 2020, families and carers will be able to recommence visits to Thomas Embling Hospital.  (see below)

Why we need to implement these changes

As you would most likely be aware, the pandemic associated with COVID-19 is still causing impacts worldwide. While the spread of the virus is slowing across Australia, we need to ensure we have plans in place to ensure the virus is contained.

Across our services, we care for a group of people who are at particularly high risk of having a severe illness associated with the novel coronavirus. As such, we are currently doing everything we can to minimise the risk of spread of this virus into our services, including at Thomas Embling Hospital.

We are working closely with the Department of Health and Human Services to ensure we are working in accordance with the best information available.

Visiting Thomas Embling Hospital

As of Monday 25th May 2020, families and carers of patients can recommence visits to the hospital.  While restrictions are being eased across the country, the spread of COVID-19 is still a risk. To ensure we maintain the health and safety of everyone, a number of restrictions and controls for visitors are in place to minimise the risk of COVID-19 at the hospital. 

Visitor limits 

  • Visits will be restricted to 1 hour per patient per day. 
  • A maximum of 1 person is allowed per visit.  
  • Unfortunately, children 16 or under are unable to visit at this stage. 
  • Skype and free phone calls will still remain in place. 

In the event of a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19, visits will be cancelled immediately to ensure the safety and well-being of everyone at the hospital. 

Physical distancing 

All visits must be non-contact and maintain physical distancing of 1.5m as per State Government guidelines. 

Pre-screening 

All visitors will be required to undergo a pre-screening process which is currently in place for staff. This includes: 

  • Taking the temperature of all people who enter the hospital. If your temperature is greater than 37.5 C, you may be asked to delay your visit. 
  • Asking a set of standard questions: 
  1. In the past 14 days have you arrived in Australia from a place outside Australia? 
  2. In the past 14 days have you been in contact with a confirmed (positive) coronavirus person?
  3. Have you had a recent onset of cough, sore throat, runny nose or shortness of breath? 

Visiting hours 

Visits must occur during visiting times: 

  • Monday – Friday 2.00 pm – 7.00 pm 
  • Saturday and Sunday 10.00 am – 5.00 pm 

The hospital is currently unable to accommodate visits outside of these hours. 

Avoid queuing and delays for entry by:

  • Not coming in early. 
  • Avoiding the peak time of 2 pm if possible. 

Book your visits 

All visits must be pre-booked to ensure we can maintain safe distancing. Contact the unit you wish to visit on the number below to book your time. Please contact our reception on telephone 9495 9100 to get in touch with the unit you would like to visit. 

Signing in and out of units 

All visitors must sign-in and sign-out upon entry and exit to the unit they are visiting. This information will help with contact tracing should someone at the hospital test positive for the virus. 

If you have concerns about appointments or visits you may have planned to the hospital, please contact our reception on 9495 9100.

Other options for families and carers

To ensure you can say in touch with your family or friend at the hospital, we are offering:

Access to Skype for all patients on all units. Skype is an application (or “app”) which allows people to speak via a video link over the internet. Skype can be used on computer, mobile phones (Apple or Android) and tablet devices. Use of Skype for video calls is free. For information about Skype, please visit www.skype.com.

If you’ve never used Skype before or are having trouble using it, please get in touch with the unit social worker. While we advise you to avoid attending the hospital as much as possible, if you are unable to access a phone or the internet, we can facilitate you using Skype in a rooms near the reception area of the hospital.

We have made phone calls made by patients free of charge. This will include local, national and mobile calls. For international calls, patients will still need to work with their treating teams (as they do currently).

Contractors and essential visitors

All other contractors and essential visitors upon each entry will be temperature checked and asked if:

  • they have travelled overseas within the last 14 days
  • have come into contact with a known COVID-19 case
  • they currently suffering any flu like symptoms
  • if they have lost their sense of smell or taste

Answering yes to any of these questions may result in you being denied access to the hospital to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19.

Visiting our Community Forensic Mental Health Service

All Community Forensic Mental Health Service (CFMHS) clients are being contacted by their clinicians for screening prior to their appointment. This involves answering the questions mentioned in the screening process above.

All visitors to CFMHS will also be screened prior to their entry to the service.

Any person found to be at risk will be asked to reschedule their visit to a later date when they are no longer at risk.

If you are unsure, please contact our CFMHS reception team prior to your visit on 9947 2500.

Visiting our prison services

Families and carers who would like to visit someone in our prison services will need to check the Corrections Victoria website for details.

Professional visitors will need to get in touch with their Forensicare contact to confirm that visits can go ahead.

Where can I get up-to-date information on COVID-19?

The Federal Government has created a resource page with up-to-date information on the coronavirus (COVID-19).

If you are at risk of COVID-19, or are concerned about your symptoms, you can also call the COVID-19 hotline 1800 020 080.

More information

For more information on visiting Forensicare, please contact our Thomas Embling Hospital reception team on 9495 9100, or our Community Forensic Mental Health Service reception team on 9947 2500.

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