COVID-19: Important changes for visitors to Forensicare

Changes to visiting Forensicare services amid COVID-19.

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.

As cases of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, continue to rise, it’s important for us to keep our consumers, staff and visitors safe. That’s why we’ve restricted visitors to Thomas Embling Hospital to essential only.

Why we need to implement these changes

As you would most likely be aware, the pandemic associated with COVID-19 is rapidly escalating in its size and impact worldwide.

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

We have ceased all non-essential visits to Thomas Embling Hospital, including professional visitors, contractors, as well as carers and families.

We do not make this decision lightly. We know how important it is for consumers to maintain connection with their family and friends. However, given the risks of COVID-19, we feel it is in the best interests of everyone if we do everything we can to prevent the spread of infection.

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

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).

Visits on a case-by-case basis. While we are encouraging remote communication, we recognise that in some cases visits may be required. This will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Please speak to your nurse unit manager to discuss this option.

Screening process

All 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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