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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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    Stay at home audio, social tile and poster

    Get tested and worker support payment audio, social tile and poster

    Visitors

    As part of The Royal Children’s Hospital’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 and Human Services (DHHS) and take into account the specific care needs and vulnerabilities of our patients.

    View RCH visitor restrictions

    Hospital site attendance

    Only the parent(s)/legal guardian(s) are permitted to attend the hospital as long as they successfully pass visitor screening on a daily basis. No other visitors are allowed on site, regrettably this includes siblings and extended family and friends.

    Directions under the Public Health Act prohibit the following persons from entry to any Victorian Hospital:

    • A person diagnosed with COVID-19 who has not yet been released from isolation;
    • A person who has arrived in Australia from overseas in the past 14 days;
    • A person who has had known contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19;
    • A person with a temperature higher than 37.5 degrees or symptoms of acute respiratory infection.

    There may be circumstances that a person who meets one of the above criteria can be provided an exemption if they are a parent or carer of a patient at RCH but this can only be granted by the Executive Director of Nursing and Allied Health or their delegate and agreed in advance with the DHHS Chief Health Office. This form cannot be used to grant this type of exemption.

    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.

    Bedside restrictions

    Clinical area Visitors allowed (assuming they have passed visitor screening)
    General ward areas (Banksia, Kelpie, Kookaburra, Sugar Glider, Koala, Possum, Cockatoo, Platypus) two parents/legal guardians will be allowed during hospital visiting hours (8am – 8pm)
    Emergency Department (ED) two parent/legal guardian will be allowed, regardless of the time
    Paediatric Intensive Care (Rosella) and Dolphin two parents/legal guardians will be allowed during hospital visiting hours (8am – 8pm)

    Neonatal (Butterfly) two parents/legal guardians will be allowed from 8am – 7pm
    Day Medical/Day Oncology/Specialist Clinics two parents/legal guardians will be allowed during hospital visiting hours (8am – 8pm)

    Two parents can accompany their child to outpatient appointments but due to restricted room size, only one parent may be with their child during the consultation (the other parent having to remain in the waiting area)

    Day Surgery/Theatre/Recovery/Medical Imaging two parents/legal guardians will be allowed during hospital visiting hours (8am – 8pm)

    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 DHHS website www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus.

    Respiratory Infection Clinic

    Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 should be tested.

    The RCH Respiratory Infection Clinic is open daily from 9am to 5pm and is accessible via the Emergency Department only.

    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.

    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.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus 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 9am to 5pm and is accessible via the Emergency Department only.

    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 and Human Services website.


    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. 

    Resources

    Factsheets

    Advice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families

    Videos

    A child’s guide to hospital: Why is everyone wearing a mask?

    Is your child wondering why everyone is wearing a mask?

    We know that explaining the importance of masks to your child may be challenging, so we sat down with Jazz and Nurse Kareena to talk through it.

     

    A child’s guide to hospital: COVID-19 test

    Having a COVID-19 swab test can be a bit scary for children and you might be wondering how to explain it to them.

    Isla visited our Respiratory Infection Clinic last week for a COVID-19 test after she was showing symptoms which meet the criteria for testing.

    The grade two student took us with her while she had her swab and told us what it felt like from a child’s perspective.

    Thankfully for Isla, her test came back negative.

    For more information about COVID-19 please visit: t.ly/NEl4


    Healthcare for your child during COVID-19

    While we are all encouraged to stay at home throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important that families still continue to access health care, when it is needed.

    Parents and families should feel safe and comfortable accessing care at their local health provider, and should never delay visiting these services in times of concern.

    Watch our video above to hear Dr Sarah McNab talk about the signs and symptoms to look for in your child, and when to visit your GP or nearby Emergency Department.

    To check the status of the RCH Emergency Department, please visit our ED tracker here: www.rch.org.au/emerg_rch/status


    Telehealth quick step guide

    Watch this video to be taken through how to best prepare for your Telehealth appointment with this quick step guide.


    Keeping healthy and staying safe

    There is a lot of information around at the moment about COVID-19 and you might be feeling overwhelmed and unsure about what you should do. One of the best things we can all do every day to stop the spread of viruses like COVID-19 is practice excellent hand hygiene, and cough and sneeze etiquette. Watch our video with RCH Infectious Diseases Physician Dr Andrew Daley for some more tips for keeping well.  


    Talking to your child about COVID-19

    Talking to your child about COVID-19 can be challenging, and we know some parents might be unsure about how to answer their questions.

    Dr Margie is back to provide you with some tools on how to have the conversation and how you can support your child through this pandemic.

    For more information please see:  https://www.rch.org.au/kidsinfo/fact_sheets/Supporting_your_child_to_cope_with_the_COVID-19_pandemic/

    To keep up-to-date with the right information on COVID-19 please visit www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus and if you are worried your child may have COVID-19 please call the hotline on 1800 675 398.


    Answering your child’s questions

    Are you unsure about how to explain COVID-19 to our child or answer questions about why they can't see their friends or grandparents?
    Jazz from RCH TV gave Dr Mike Starr, a paediatrician at the RCH, a call to find out some answers to questions your children might have.

    Jazz and Kareena talk about PPE

    Have you seen people in hospital and paramedics wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)? It can look strange! Jazz tracks down Nurse Kareena to learn why it's important.