COVID-19: Important information for visitors to Forensicare

COVID-19: Important information for visitors to Forensicare

Update: 1 March 2021

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, we undertake entrance screening and other measures for people visiting Forensicare’s services as part of our COVID-19 management plan. 

Why we need to stay COVID safe

As you would most likely be aware, the pandemic associated with COVID-19 is still causing impacts worldwide and we need to ensure we have plans in place to ensure the virus is contained.  This includes COVID screening on entry, the wearing of masks in our clinical settings, hand sanitising, physical distancing and a clean-inbetween protocol (cleaning before and after use) for all shared spaces.

Across our services, we care for a group of people who are at particularly high risk of having a severe illness associated with the 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 Forensicare during COVID-19 

*Update: 18 February 2021: Families and carers of patients can currently visit the hospital.   

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.  

All visitors – screening process 

All visitors to Forensicare services: 

  • must be COVID-screened at reception before entering the hospital (see screening questions below) 
  • must wear a mask at all times 
  • must maintain safe physical distancing at all times 

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 to Thomas Embling Hospital and CFMHS 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.  
  • Registering the contact details of all visitors to the hospital 
  • 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?   
  4. Have you visited known exposures sites in Melbourne or interstate? (specific locations will be updated as information and risks change) 

Visiting Prison Services 

Visitors to any of our prison services will need to follow Corrections Victoria COVID-19 visiting procedures. Please check the Corrections Victoria website for details. 

Friends, families and carers of patients at Thomas Embling Hospital 

We are currently restricting visits to consumers to a maximum of one visitor per patientper day for up to one hour. Visits outside of this (for more than one person or longer duration) will be considered in exceptional circumstances on a case-by-case basis if a request is made in writing to the Operations Manager and DSC Inpatients, this can be done via unit staff.  

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). 

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. 

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

Stay up-to-date with the latest COVID-19 information via the DHHS website:

Latest announcements

Case locations and outbreak sites

Where to get tested

Victorian restriction levels

How to stay safe

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:

  • Thomas Embling Hospital reception team on 9495 9100
  • Community Forensic Mental Health Service reception team on 9947 2500
  • Visit the Corrections Victoria website

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