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Coronavirus COVID-19

  • Translated resources

    The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) knows it’s important to keep everyone in our diverse community informed about COVID-19, so we’ve made key information, including our COVID-19 videos, written resources and visitor guidelines available in a number of community languages.

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    Visitors

    As part of the RCH's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, additional visitor restrictions have been put in place to ensure the continued safety of our patients, families and staff. These restrictions are in addition to those mandated by the Department of Health (DH) and take into account the specific care needs and vulnerabilities of our patients.

    The safety and health of our patients, families, community and staff are our highest priority. Due to the escalating situation in Victoria, the whole of Victoria was moved to a COVID-Peak risk rating by the Victorian Government resulting in additional visitor restrictions being implemented at hospitals.

    Hospital site attendance

    The RCH has updated its visitor restrictions.

    Up to two care and support visits are allowed each day, for under two hours.

    There are some visitors who are exempt from the two-hour restriction. At any one time, no more than two visitors can be present with a patient. For example, if a parent or guardian of a child (exempted person) is already in the room, only one care and support visitor can be let in. This includes patients who are receiving palliative care.

    • Inpatient Ward Areas (Cockatoo, Kookaburra Ward, Koala, Platypus, Sugar Glider, Kelpie, Possum) – a maximum of one parent/carer and no siblings.              
    • Kookaburra Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) Suite – preferably one parent/carer (as standard no siblings attend the BMT Suite).
    • Emergency Department – a maximum of one parent/carer and no siblings.
    • Dolphin – a maximum of one parent/carer and no siblings.
    • Rosella and Butterfly – preferably one parent/carer and no siblings.
    • Banksia – determined by treating team.
    • Specialist Clinics, Day Medical Care, Day Cancer Unit, Medical Imaging, Day Surgery, Theatre and Recovery – a maximum of one parent/carer, no siblings due to physical distancing challenges in the consulting room and other areas.

    All of these numbers are for guidance, in all circumstances if you have extenuating reasons for changes please speak to your treating team.

    In order to maintain a COVID-safe environment and adhere to physical distancing requirements, visitors may be asked to leave a patient room or treatment area at the request of RCH staff. We will endeavour to minimise any disruptions as best we can.

    These principles are in line with DH recommendations, allow us to remain safe at work and also ensure we can deliver the best care possible for our patients. This advice is subject to change at short notice if this situation changes.

    Directions under the Public Health Act prohibit anyone entering any hospital in Victoria if you:

    • are awaiting a coronavirus (COVID-19) test result (unless granted exemption under exceptional circumstances)
    • are unwell with symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), such as a cough, sore throat, runny nose, shortness of breath, fever or loss of sense of taste or smell
    • have a temperature higher than 37.5 degrees Celsius
    • arrived in Australia within the last 14 days
    • have been diagnosed with coronavirus (COVID-19) and have not yet been given clearance from isolation
    • have had known contact in the past 14 days with a person who was a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19)
    • have been told to quarantine for 14 days
    • have visited an identified COVID-19 exposure site at the specified time as listed on the Department of Health website. For a full list of current exposure sites visit www.health.gov.au

    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 coronavirus (COVID-19), or a returned overseas traveller in mandatory quarantine, or have been diagnosed with coronavirus (COVID-19). Exceptions 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.

    Visitors to any hospital across Victoria must wear a fitted face mask that covers the mouth and nose.

    Rapid antigen testing

    The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) has strict controls (safety checks) in place to ensure the safety of all our patients, families and staff including visitor restrictions, rigorous screening and infection control processes. To make these controls even stronger we are working with the Victorian Department of Health on rolling out COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Testing for parents and carers visiting their children.

    All parents and carers visiting Butterfly, Kookaburra and Rosella are now required to undergo rapid antigen testing.  

    Rapid antigen testing offers a quick result in 15 minutes and works by detecting antigens or proteins on the surface of the COVID-19 virus. The test involves holding a Saliva Pen in the mouth for 2 minutes and waiting 15 minutes to read the result. Visitors must not eat, drink (including water), smoke or chew gum for 30 minutes before taking the test.

    Parent/carers will not be able to pass through screening at the hospital until they have completed the rapid antigen test and received a negative result. Any positive result on the rapid antigen test is not a diagnosis – a follow up PCR test (nose/throat swab) will be required.

     Evidence of COVID-19 Vaccination status

     The RCH recognises the important role that COVID-19 vaccination plays in the protection of our staff, patients, families and broader community. As part of our commitment we are asking all parents and carers to provide us with their vaccination status when they check into the hospital via our screening process.

     For the time-being this information will only be used to help us plan our ongoing COVID-19 response. If you are unable to provide vaccination evidence at this time it will not impact your access to attend appointments or to visit your child.  Thank you to all our families for helping us keep each other safe.

    Travelling on public transport

    Travelling to and from your child’s appointment via public transport may be a source of anxiety for you and your family.

    It’s important to remember using public transport is safe and there are measures in place to protect the health of the community including wearing masks and practising good hand hygiene.

    Public Transport Victoria is also disinfecting and sanitising all services, stops and stations on its network every day. It’s staff are doing more cleaning, more often.

    For further information about how you can help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and stay safe on public transport please visit the Public Transport Victoria website.

    Main reception (ground floor) screening

    All parents or guardians attending the RCH will be asked to confirm their name, contact number, purpose of their visit, and which area of the hospital they are attending. They will also need to answer a series of health questions and have their temperature taken. Parents or guardians who are staying overnight in an inpatient room will be required to have this undertaken every day by attending the screening point on Main Street. A dated sticker or coloured RCH wristband will be provided at the screening point and must be visible at all times, if it is not visible you may be asked to show your sticker or wristband or leave the site.

    Face masks

    All approved visitors must wear an RCH-provided mask at all times while onsite, except when in an inpatient room. You will be required to swap your own face mask with an RCH-provided surgical mask once you pass screening.

    The removal of masks in patient rooms does not apply when you are in a shared or double room, or in a room on our Rosella or Butterfly wards.  We always endeavour to provide single rooms for our patients and families, however there are some occasions when due to clinical requirements or operational demand, double rooms may need to be used.

    This requirement has been introduced as an additional measure to help keep our patients, families and staff safe. Visitors will not be able to attend the hospital if they do not wear a mask.

    Face masks will be provided at our visitor assessment checkpoints, after visitors have passed their screening questions and temperature check.

    Visitors must dispose of their mask at home, or in one of the waste bins located in the hospital.

    Overnight and visiting times

    Regular restrictions for overnight and with visiting times still apply (please discuss with the clinical department).

    Visitor restrictions will be monitored at the entry to the hospital (Main Street Reception) and at entrances to clinical areas and may change at any time depending on the situation on the ward at the time. Security and other RCH staff will monitor visitor access throughout other areas of the hospital. We would ask that where possible in order to protect your child that you refrain from taking them to areas outside of the screening footprint to minimise their risk of contact with individuals who may not have been screened; this includes your own additional visitors.

    Questions

    We know these restrictions may be challenging and we understand each family’s situation is different. We encourage you to speak to your child’s treating team and/or nurse in-charge if you have any concerns. The teams cannot change the restrictions but can help direct you to senior advisors.

    Infection prevention precautions

    While you are at the RCH, we remind you to please follow our strict infection control procedures:

    • Practice excellent hand hygiene, including on room entry and exit
    • Undertake cough etiquette; cover your cough and sneeze
    • Practice social distancing

    We thank you for your cooperation and support as we all work together to protect our patients and staff throughout this pandemic.

    To keep up-to-date with the right information about COVID-19, we encourage the community to regularly visit the Victorian DH website www.health.gov.au/

    Respiratory Infection Clinic

    Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 should be tested.

    The RCH Respiratory Infection Clinic is open daily from 8:30am-4:30pm (including Public Holidays) and is accessible via the Emergency Department only. Last entry for testing at this site will be 15 minutes before closing time. The clinic may be subject to earlier closing times due to high testing demand.

    Your child will be tested for COVID-19 if they meet the Department of Health and Human Services criteria for testing.

    To find your nearest testing location and for more information about getting tested for COVID-19, please visit the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services website.

    Visitor assessment checkpoint

    All visitors will be screened prior to entry at the RCH. Visitors will be asked a series of health questions, and receive a temperature check.

    Parents or guardians can enter through the Yellow Lifts or main entrance doors on Flemington Road to access the visitor assessment checkpoint.

    Telehealth Specialist Clinic appointments

    To help keep our patients and staff safe, and ultimately help reduce the spread of COVID-19 through social distancing, the RCH is currently limiting the number of people visiting the hospital each day.

    This includes providing the opportunity for patients and families to access Specialist Clinic appointments from their own home through telehealth, or video call. Telehealth is an important way we are providing continuity of care for our patients while significantly reducing the number of people attending the hospital each day.

    The RCH clinicians are actively reviewing their upcoming clinic lists and assessing if their patients need to be seen face-to-face, or if they are suitable for a telehealth appointment or phone review.

    The Specialist Clinics team will contact patients and families before their next appointment to advise if it is being moved to telehealth or phone review.

    What is telehealth?

    Telehealth is a way for families to access their appointments without having to attend the RCH in person. Similar to videoconferencing, patients are able to interact with their healthcare provider in the safety of their homes, just by using their laptop, smartphone or tablet device.

    How to access telehealth at the RCH?

    You will need:

    • an internet connection
    • a device such as a desktop computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone
    • a private, well-lit area where you will not be disturbed during the video call
    • a web-browser such as Safari or Google Chrome
    • web-camera, speakers and microphone (may be built into laptops or mobile devices)

    How to access the telehealth platform for families and patients?

    Once you are ready to start your telehealth video call, follow these steps:

    1. Go to www.rch.org.au/telehealth
    2. Click the 'Start Your Video Call' button
    3. Follow the instructions on the screen to process to the Telehealth waiting area. Your clinician will appear on your screen when they answer your video call

    There is also a Test Video Call button on the RCH Telehealth website so families can check that their equipment is working.

    Who can I contact for telehealth support?

    For help accessing telehealth, please contact:
    Chin-Mae Raymundo
    Telehealth Coordinator
    Phone: 9345 4645
    Email: rch.telehealth@rch.org.au
    Monday to Friday (business hours)

    Frequently asked questions

    What is the new coronavirus, COVID-19?

    Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans. COVID-19 is a new virus that can cause an infection in people, including a severe respiratory illness. The most recently discovered coronavirus causes coronavirus disease COVID-19.

    How is coronavirus spread?

    COVID-19 spreads through close contact with an infected person; mostly face-to-face or within a household. It cannot jump across a room or be carried for long distances in the air.

    What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

    Many people who contract COVID-19 will suffer only mild symptoms. However early indications are that the elderly and people with pre-existing medical conditions are more at risk of experiencing severe symptoms.

    The most common coronavirus symptoms reported include:

    • fever
    • breathing difficulties such as breathlessness
    • cough
    • sore throat
    • fatigue or tiredness

    I’m worried my child may have symptoms of COVID-19. What should I do?

    If you’re concerned your child might be experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, please visit www.health.gov.au or call the dedicated hotline on 1800 675 398 for advice.

    Children experiencing respiratory symptoms can visit their family doctor, or consider visiting their closest hospital Emergency Department for emergency care. If you require advice after hours, you can also contact the after hours GP helpline on 1800 022 222 or dial 000 in an emergency.

    Where can I go to get my child tested for COVID-19?

    Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 should be tested. A list of testing locations is available on the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services website. Please visit this website to find your nearest testing location and for more information including opening hours.

    The RCH Respiratory Infection Clinic is open daily from 8.30am to 4.15pm. To access COVID-19 testing, please enter the hospital carpark via entry 4 and follow the signage to lower ground carpark.

    Your child will only be tested for COVID-19 if they meet the Department of Health and Human Services criteria for testing.

    Where should I go to get more information and advice?

    To keep up-to-date with the right information about COVID-19, we encourage the community to regularly visit the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services website.

    If you need an interpreter, please call TIS National on 131 450.

    Is there information about COVID-19 available in languages other than English?

    Yes, there are a range of translated fact sheets available for people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds available on the Victorian Department of Health website.

    Information regarding the COVID-19 vaccine can also be found in a variety of languages on the Victorian Department of Health website.

    The North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network has also recently uploaded videos about COVID-19 vaccines in languages other than English.

    If your child is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and you’re planning to visit us for testing, please be aware there may be a wait time. Please be patient and respectful of our staff. They are working very hard to ensure every child is seen and tested as soon as possible.