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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information for Patients and Visitors

What to do if you have an upcoming admission or want to visit a loved one at Bethesda?

26 May 2020

Patients

At this stage, some elective surgeries are proceeding, providing you meet the patient screening criteria and are well on admission. We are following the Department of Health guidelines in relation to elective surgery and will amend the above as guidelines change.

If you have:
  • Flu like symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat, tight chest)
  • Have travelled overseas or interstate in the last 14 days; or
  • Been in close contact* with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 or is currently waiting on COVID-19 results
Contact the hospital for further advice. Please note our phone lines are busier than usual during this time and we thank you for your patience.
(08) 9340 6300

*A close contact is defined as requiring face-to-face contact in any setting with a confirmed or probable case, for greater than 15 minutes cumulative over the course of a week, in the period extending from 48 hours before onset of symptoms in the confirmed or probable case, or sharing of a closed space with a confirmed case for a prolonged period (e.g. more than 2 hours) in the period extending from 48 hours before onset of symptoms in the confirmed case.


Visitors

In order to protect our patients, doctors and staff, we are restricting the number of visitors and visiting hours have been reduced. Thank you for your understanding and assistance through this unprecedented situation. The reduction of foot traffic into the hospital minimises the likelihood of COVID-19 spreading.


Updated Visiting Hours

  • 11:00am – 2:00pm
  • 5:00pm – 7:00pm

Day Procedure Patients

If you are dropping off a patient for surgery, you will not be able to come into the hospital unless the patient needs assistance.

Day surgery patients will not be able to have any visitors. If you are collecting a patient, staff will call you in time to pick up the patient.


Visitors of Overnight Surgical Patients

Surgical patients can nominate one person to be their visitor for the duration of their stay. This person will be able to visit during the restricted visiting hours, as long as they pass the screening criteria below. Visitors will be required to sign in at the front desk and must leave when visiting hours conclude. There is no facility in the hospital for others to wait during this time.

Long Stay Surgical Patients
Long stay surgical patients can nominate two people to be their visitor for the duration of their stay. These people will be able to visit during the restricted visiting hours, as long as they pass the screening criteria below. Visitors will be required to sign in at the front desk and must leave when visiting hours conclude. There is no facility in the hospital for others to wait during this time.


Visitors of Palliative Patients

Palliative patients can nominate two people to be their visitors for the duration of their stay. These people will be able to visit during the restricted visiting hours, as long as they pass the screening criteria below. Visitors will be required to sign in at the front desk and must leave when visiting hours conclude. There is no facility in the hospital for others to wait during this time.

Nominated visitors will be screened upon entry to the hospital and will not be able to visit if they have:
  • Have travelled overseas or interstate in the last 14 days
  • Been in close contact* with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19
  • Been in close contact* with a person who is currently waiting on COVID-19 test results
  • Flu like symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat, tight chest)
  • Children 16 years or younger
  • Have a temperature higher than 37.5 degrees Celsius
*A close contact is defined as requiring face-to-face contact in any setting with a confirmed or probable case, for greater than 15 minutes cumulative over the course of a week, in the period extending from 48 hours before onset of symptoms in the confirmed or probable case, or sharing of a closed space with a confirmed case for a prolonged period (e.g. more than 2 hours) in the period extending from 48 hours before onset of symptoms in the confirmed case.


More Information

Coronavirus Health Information Line: 1800 020 080

Department of Health website for up to date information: https://ww2.health.wa.gov.au/Articles/A_E/Coronavirus


Frequently Asked Questions

What are we doing to protect vulnerable patients?
We are taking a range of measures and precautions to protect our patients. This includes:
  • Additional cleaning and sanitisation measures
  • Limiting visitor numbers and reduced visiting hours
  • Screening patients and visitors in order to protect patients and staff
  • Prohibiting those arriving from overseas into our building

Why has the Australian Government allowed elective surgery and procedures to recommence?
The Australian Government’s decision to ease restrictions on elective surgery and procedures was based on the advice of medical experts. Now that there are very low numbers of COVID-19 cases in Australia, it is possible for elective surgery and procedures to recommence without increasing the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
The aim is to ensure that people who need surgery or a procedure can undergo it safely, and the hospital system can continue to respond to any rise in COVID-19 cases in the future.

What is being done to keep me safe and reduce my risk of COVID-19 infection if I go to hospital for elective surgery?
Health services have implemented the National Safety and Quality Health Services (NSQHS) Standards, which aim to protect the public from harm and to improve the quality of healthcare provision. The NSQHS Standards describe the level of care you should expect to receive from a health service organisation, in areas that affect the safety and quality of care, and where there is good evidence of how to provide better care.

The NSQHS Standards include actions related to preventing and controlling infections. Healthcare professionals in your hospital will follow current national guidelines regarding preventing infections by doing such things as washing their hands, wearing gloves, gowns, masks and protective eye wear, when needed.

Your hospital will also follow specific guidance for use of personal protective equipment (PPE) for patients with COVID-19. These patients are only able to have urgent surgery, if needed.

How will the doctor know that I don’t have COVID-19?
Your doctor will arrange for you to be asked a number of questions about the risk that you may have COVID-19, and your temperature will be checked. If you or your doctor have any concerns, then your doctor will arrange further investigation. In some cases, this might be testing for COVID-19. In other cases, it might be to check you don’t have another illness or infection. This will help ensure your safety.

Do I need to be tested for COVID-19 or be quarantined before my surgery or procedure?
You should only have your surgery or procedure if you are well enough.
The low rates of COVID-19 in Australia mean it is not necessary to test patients for COVID-19 prior to elective surgery or procedures, or to ask patients to quarantine themselves.

Your risk of COVID-19 is assessed by asking you questions about travel history, contact with known cases, symptoms and checking your temperature.

What questions should I ask my doctor to help me decide about my surgery or procedure?
It is important to know:
  • Why it is recommended that you have the surgery or procedure at this time
  • The risks and benefits of having the surgery or procedure at this time
  • The actions that will be taken to reduce your risk of infection and other complications
  • What may happen if you decide not to proceed with the surgery or procedure now
  • If there are any other options besides the proposed surgery or procedure
Are health services undertaking elective surgery or procedures required to ensure physical distancing?
Yes. Health services should ensure that they meet physical distancing requirements at all times during planning, preparation and post treatment. This applies to all staff, patients and relatives.

What is happening with my scheduled admission?
Unless you meet travel restriction criteria or are feeling unwell, your admission will go ahead as planned except where you have been instructed otherwise by your surgeon. We will contact you by phone prior to your admission as part of our screening process.

Can I visit my loved one in hospital?
For the safety of our patients and staff, visitors and visiting hours have been reduced and are outlined above. Please read above for screening guidelines if you are a visitor.

We understand that being in hospital can be daunting and having visitors can be a comfort. The decision to restrict visitors is in line with the current Department of Health guidelines and has been made in the best interests of you, your family, our patients and staff.

Is it safe coming into a hospital right now?
We have a comprehensive range of COVID-19 precaution measures in place to ensure we are mitigating the risk of infection and ask that you assist by supporting us in this.