Yesterday’s decision by the Victorian Government to extend the lockdown period by a further seven days has not led to any changes for health services. Like all metropolitan Melbourne health services, we are continuing to operate under the COVID Active (Red) rating system. This means ongoing restrictions across many areas, including elective surgery being restricted to Category 1 and Category 2A cases only.
This also means our visitor restrictions remain in place. As we’re all aware, visitor restrictions are very difficult for our patients and their loved ones, and I want to ensure that we’re doing all we can to facilitate visitation – within the guidelines – for patients who really need it. The guidelines are listed below. I would like to encourage our NUMs, MUMs and ward managers to use discretion, particularly for our patients requiring emotional or social support. Please also help our patients take advantage of our virtual visits program being run by the Allied Health team.
As is the case every day, please continue to regularly check the list of exposure sites. If you or a household contact have been at one of the Tier 1 exposure sites, please follow the directions on the Department of Health website regarding isolation and testing. Do NOT attend work and contact COVID Staff Enquiries at email@example.com
(When you do contact our staff enquiries team, please also be aware that they are fielding a very high number of emails and calls, so please be patient with your colleagues).
Thanks for keeping updated.
Adherence to PPE guidelines is particularly important during an outbreak. In clinical spaces, this means wearing eye protection (either face shields or goggles) and masks, as an absolute minimum. Staff in administrative or non-public facing areas must wear surgical masks, unless you are alone in an office with the door closed. Please familiarise yourself with the PPE requirements for your work area.
Asymptomatic COVID testing for staff is being offered at our main sites this week:
- Footscray, private consulting rooms, reception area 2, 7.30am-4.30pm
- Sunshine Hospital COVID-19 Testing Clinic every day, 9am-6.30pm
- Williamstown Hospital, Emergency Department, 8am-12pm (please register with your ward clerk first, and enter the ED from the main entrance on Railway Place)
Wellbeing & support hubs
Western Health’s Wellbeing and Support hubs are opening again today:
- Footscray – Mavis Mitchell
- Sunshine – Lecture Theatre, WCHRE Building
The hubs are open for all staff, so pop in to have some time away from your work area, to clear your mind or just to have a quiet moment.
The Chief Health Officer update provides information to clinicians and the public about the confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Victoria as well as relevant public health response activities.
Staff-only vaccination sessions are being held at our Sunshine Hospital Vaccination Hub twice a day.
The morning session will operate between 7.30am-8.30am and the afternoon session from 2pm-4pm.
These sessions will be available for walk-in appointments only with the intent of offering relatively quick access for staff who are attending the hub for either their first or second dose. If you or your colleagues prefer to book an appointment, you can still do so by calling the Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398.
More details here.
Working at multiple workplaces
Restricting the movement of staff across healthcare, disability care and aged care is a key priority in reducing the risk of further spread of COVID-19. Under formal directions from the Acting Chief Health Officer, it is a requirement that staff do not work at more than one site, except where that is not practicable and/ or clinical need overrides this.
Western Health is closely following those directions. All staff who work for two or more employers must provide the details to Western Health (as well as their other employers) and also must keep records of their work locations. Any staff who work at more than one site/employer are required to declare if and where they have worked previously before beginning their shift. This is critically important for contract tracing, should it be required.
Any staff member who is also employed by a care facility that has recorded a positive COVID case, including Arcare Maidstone and BlueCross Western Gardens in Sunshine, is NOT allowed to work at Western Health unless it has been 14 days since you worked at the facility AND you had a confirmed negative COVID test at Day 10-13 (ideally at Day 13).
This is a priority.
The current visitor restrictions mean that many patients are very socially isolated during inpatient admission. Social chats with family members are essential to support patient wellbeing, engagement and recovery.
Allied Health are currently implementing strategies for our isolated and vulnerable patients on most wards to help increase the access of families to their loved ones through virtual visiting via video or telephone call. Read the QRG here.
During this current short lockdown Allied Health are re-implementing strategies on most wards to help increase the access of families to their loved ones through virtual visiting via video or telephone call. Virtual visiting will only be available during this lockdown period for patients with significant vulnerability and isolation. Patients are allowed visitors for compassionate and caring reasons, as well as discharge planning.
Please direct questions regarding Virtual Visits to your local Allied Health lead (details have been sent to NUMs) or the Allied Health ASPIRE team at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0403 770 497, OR Matt Thorpe at Matthew.Thorpe@wh.org.au or 8345 1250.