Visiting our hospital

From 15 August 2022

Changes to visitor arrangements at our hospitals have been introduced in line with other public hospitals through WA.

As hospitals care for people when they are at their most vulnerable, these changes will help them, our staff and the wider community safe from the spread of COVID-19.

Please remember to respect and be patient with our staff – they are doing their best. Abuse of our staff in any form will not be tolerated.

Do not visit the hospital if you are COVID-19 positive or have COVID-19 symptoms (Healthy WA).

Permitted visitor definitions

Standard visitor

Family member or friend visiting any patient in the hospital.

Essential visitor

Every essential visitor will be agreed on a case-by-case basis after an assessment by the patient’s treating team or ward. Read more below in ‘Visitor checklist’.

A permitted essential visitor is:

  • nominated labour support person
  • nominated parent/guardian of an admitted child (including a neonate/start of life)
  • nominated guardian/carer for a patient living with a disability
  • patient support person if they have a significant impact on clinical care and outcomes for a patient, for example assisting with care of a patient with dementia
  • support person (spouse, partners and other significant others) for someone who is critically ill
  • one end-of-life support person – read about exceptional compassionate visitor exemptions
  • a maximum of one accompanying essential visitor into an emergency department
  • up to 2 visitors per patient in an emergency circumstance (not an emergency department presentation)
  • a maximum of one designated guardian attending an outpatient, home or community-based appointment.

Children under 16 years of age are discouraged from visiting. Requests for children under 16 years of age to visit with an adult will be managed on a case-by-case basis.

Visitor checklist

The checklist below outlines the steps to gaining entry to our hospitals. Full information about each of these steps is provided following the checklist.

Table 1: Visitor checklist
Requirement  Standard visitor Essential visitor
Gain approval to be an essential visitor No

Yes

Proof of double vaccination Yes, must be fully vaccinated Fully vaccinated preferred, but exemptions for unvaccinated if considered an essential visitor/carer
Wear a hospital surgical mask Yes, provided Yes, provided.
Answer screening questions Yes Yes
Self-rest with a nasal rapid antigen test (RAT) screening Yes, if visiting a designated high-risk area/ward – see ‘Self-test with a nasal RAT before coming to hospital’ below for further details Yes, if visiting a designated high-risk area/ward – see ‘Self-test with a nasal RAT before coming to hospital’ below for further details
Visiting hour limits Yes, within visiting times Yes, on agreement with ward
Screening

Whether you are a standard or essential visitor, you will be asked a series of questions about your health. It is important you answer the questions truthfully.

These questions may include you being asked if you:

  • have a current diagnosis of COVID-19 based on a rapid antigen test (RAT) or PCR result?
  • have a fever, a cold or flu-like illness, including symptoms such as sore throat, cough, fatigue, runny nose, loss of taste and smell and/or difficulty breathing or have experienced these symptoms in the past 7 days?
  • have you recently experienced, or are currently experiencing any new gastroenteritis like symptoms (vomiting and/or diarrhoea) or have experienced these symptoms in the past 7 days?
  • are you a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case?
  • have you been tested for COVID-19 and are awaiting results?
  • are a close contact who is approved to visit and are refusing a RAT have you recently recovered from COVID-19 and been released from isolation within the previous 4 weeks?

You will be given a visitor screening sticker on entering the hospital, which must be worn and visible for the duration of your visit.

Self-test with a nasal RAT before attending the hospital

All visitors attending nominated specialty areas or clinics will be asked to self-test with a nasal RAT at home before attending the hospital.

Proof of vaccination

There are a few ways you can show proof of your COVID-19 vaccination (external site), both in a digital and paper-based form. You must have at least a double dose of the COVID-19 vaccination if you are 16 years and older.

You are strongly encouraged to prepare well in advance to avoid delays or being declined entry.

Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated essential visitors

We recognise there will be occasions when essential visitors will not be fully vaccinated.

Unvaccinated visitors who have an approved proof exception may visit a patient.

Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated visitors who do not have a proof exception may only visit if they are a parent/guardian/carer of a child under 16 years or a support person for a patient who cannot be reasonably accompanied by another person who is fully vaccinated or an exempt person.

You may be required to do the following at the guidance of the hospital:

  • need to wear a mask at a minimum, but this may extend to other PPE depending on need
  • be met and escorted to and from the patient’s room
  • not visit other patients or common areas of the hospital, such as cafeterias
  • follow the direction and advice of staff at all times
  • be required to undergo a rapid antigen test (RAT) if entering high risk areas or visiting vulnerable patients, with a RAT every third day for long term regular visitors.
Masks

All visitors aged 12 years and above will be given a new surgical mask to wear upon entry to the hospital and this must be worn at all times.

When disposing of masks please remember to break the cords and place in a bin.

Visiting hours and restrictions for standard visitors

Visiting hours and are between 8am to 8pm.

All patients are allowed up to two visitors at a time during visiting hours unless additional visitors have been approved in accordance with local guidelines. During visiting hours, the two visitors are in addition to the essential visitors.

At all times there should not be more than two (2) visitors with a patient at a time (excluding essential visitors).

Visiting hours and restrictions for essential visitors

Visiting hours and are between 8am to 8pm.

Outside of these visiting hours, only essential visitors and/or those with approved exemptions are approved to visit.

All patients are allowed up to two visitors at a time during visiting hours unless additional visitors have been approved in accordance with local guidelines. During visiting hours, the two visitors are in addition to the essential visitors.

At all times there should not be more than two (2) visitors with a patient at a time (excluding essential visitors).

Maternity patients (including labour and birth suite)

  • One essential visitor (birthing partner) can be with a woman for support during induction and/or labour, and then for a maximum of four hours post birth and/or for critical decisions regarding care.
  • That essential visitor must then only return during standard visiting hours.
  • In the event of complications at birth the clinical team will review the agreed length of visit.
  • The maternity unit should provide contact information to enable the essential visitor to phone ahead.

Neonates/start of life patients (including NICU)

  • One essential visitor may be present 24/7.
  • In emergency circumstances up to two visitors may be permitted per patient.

Paediatrics and patients with a disability

  • One essential visitor present 24/7.

Emergency situations (including emergency department)

  • In emergency circumstances (noting not just in the ED) up to two essential visitors can be with a patient outside of standard visiting hours as agreed by staff based on the patient’s clinical situation.
  • When attending the ED only one essential visitor should attend with the patient to avoid overcrowding.
  • The essential visitor must be nominated upon arrival and can stay with the patient for the duration of the stay in the ED.
  • If a patient is transferred from ED to a ward, the essential visitor may stay for a maximum of four hours, or period determined clinically appropriate. After that the essential visitor may only return during standard visiting hours.

Day cases

  • Only one essential visitor may attend with a patient in day surgery.
  • If the patient is transferred to the wards, the essential visitor may stay for a maximum of four hours, or period determined clinically appropriate. After that the essential visitor may only return during standard visiting hours.

Theatre patients

  • Only one essential visitor may attend with a patient scheduled for theatre, including for supervision and consent processes as necessary.
  • When the patient is transferred to the wards, the essential visitor may stay for a maximum of four hours. After that the essential visitor may only return during standard visiting hours.

Outpatient clinics and imaging/diagnostic appointments

  • Patients should attend alone, unless one parent/guardian is required.
  • essential visitor/ support person can be on speaker phone or video call during the appointment, especially for critical clinical decisions.
  • For paediatrics, parents/guardians are encouraged to attend without other children/ siblings accompanying them and the patient.

End of life/critically ill patients

  • One support person present 24/7 as agreed by staff on a case by case basis.
  • On compassionate grounds and on a case-by-case basis the essential visitor and other visitors may be approved to visit at the same time.
If you are in COVID-19 isolation or quarantine

South Metropolitan Health Service (SMHS) has procedures in place to protect patients, staff and visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

This includes hospital visits by any person in COVID-19 isolation or quarantine for:

  • emergency care
  • planned medical care
  • maternity assessments or procedures
  • to visit on compassionate grounds
  • to visit if you are a close contact.

Read more about coming to hospital if you are in COVID-19 isolation or quarantine.

Entry points

To manage the screening process the hospital has limited visitor entry points. Please follow the signage in place and/or the directions of hospital staff.