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Update on COVID-19

The health of our patients, visitors and staff is our biggest priority. We have put in place a number of measures to keep our community safe while providing the highest level of care.

The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital is working closely with the Department of Health and Human Services and taking all advised precautions against
COVID-19.

Please reschedule your appointment, and do not come to the Eye and Ear if you:

  • have travelled internationally in the past 14 days; 

  • are unwell with a fever, shortness of breath, cough or sore throat;

  • have been in contact with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19.

New Safety Measures
Rescheduled and Cancelled Appointments
Visitor Restrictions
Frequently Asked Questions
Gisborne Street Entrance Closure
Play your Part
Other Information

New Safety Measures at the Eye and Ear

Your booking can be rescheduled by emailing our outpatient booking unit on outpatients@eyeandear.org.au or calling 9929 8500. Please note, we are experiencing a high volume of calls during this time, and advise you to email, where possible.

As part of our response to managing the coronavirus outbreak, we have:

  • Introduced a Clinical Concierge desk at all entrances of the hospital for visitors and patients to answer screening questions, have a temperature check and use hand sanitiser upon entry;
  • Restricted ward visitations to one visitor per patient for one hour per day;
  • Encouraged patients to come alone or use a carer to drop and go, if appropriate;
  • Enforced social distancing of at least 1.5m wherever practical;

Rescheduled and Cancelled Appointments

We want to assure you that the Eye and Ear is continuing to provide essential and emergency treatment. If we have advised you that your appointment or surgery has been postponed, please be assured that this has been done in consultation with a qualified doctor, who has reviewed your medical records and has advised that it is safe to do so.

This has been done to minimise the number of people having to travel to the hospital, as well as ensuring we are using staff and resources wisely.

If at any time you are concerned that your condition is deteriorating, please contact your GP or referring doctor.

We will also continue to provide emergency care at the Eye and Ear. However, please only visit our Emergency Department if your condition is an emergency. Local pharmacist or GP’s can provide advice for conditions such as ear wax.

Please note: The Eye and Ear does not have a COVID-19 screening clinic.  If you suspect you may have COVID-19, call the dedicated hotline on 1800 675 398 for advice on what to do. For further information on screening clinic locations, visit here.

Research Patients
Your safety is always our top priority. We are continuing to run essential Clinical Trials and clinical research projects. If you are participating in a current research trial/project your Principal Investigator will be in touch with you directly. They will inform you of how the research trial/project you are participating in will progress during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have any questions, concerns or if you have not heard from your Principal Investigator please contact them before your next appointment (please note response times may vary during the COVID-19 pandemic). If you are attending an appointment at the hospital, you will follow the same guidelines as other patients. These include:

  • Answering series of questions
  • Using hand sanitiser
  • Having your temperature taken
  • Attending by yourself, if needed you may be accompanied by one carer

Visitor Restrictions

For patients/visitors attending outpatient appointments, elective surgeries, or visiting the Emergency Department:

  • If possible, it is preferred that patients come alone to the hospital. If a carer/support person is needed, this is restricted to one person.
  • Please do not accompany a patient to the Eye and Ear if you are experiencing at least one of the following symptoms: fever, cough, sore throat or shortness of breath and/or have been overseas in the past 14 days; or in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19.
  • If accompanying a friend or family member for day surgery, it is requested that you leave the hospital and only return when you receive a phone call from our staff to advise that they are ready for discharge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For patients/ visitors on wards:

  • We are restricting visitors to our wards. Partners OR carers are still welcome, however, there is a limit of one visitor per patient, per day.
  • Visits will be limited to a maximum of 1 hour.  We respectfully ask that other family members and friends do not visit at this time.
  • We ask that partners OR carers do not accompany or visit patients if they are experiencing at least one of the following symptoms: fever, cough, sore throat or shortness of breath and/or have been overseas in the past 14 days; or in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19.
  • Visiting hours for Ward 8 have been amended, and now end at 7pm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please note, when you arrive at the hospital, all visitors and patients will be greeted at the entrance by a member of our staff who will take your temperature; request that you sanitise your hands; and ensure that you are fit to enter.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will my appointment be cancelled / postponed? 
In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, we are currently scaling back our operations and to reduce the number of visitors at the hospital and the risk of infection. 

You will be contacted by the Eye and Ear booking unit by phone, text or letter to advise you if your appointment is being postponed. A qualified and experienced doctor will have read your health care records and assessed that this is safe to do so.

I've tried ringing on the phone, but can't get through.
We are experiencing a high level of calls and enquiries at the moment. If you are calling in relation to your appointment, you can also email: outpatients@eyeandear.org.au . Please include the following patient information in your email: 

  • Name
  • Date of Birth 
  • Postcode
  • Contact number
  • UR Number

When will you be in touch with me about a new date for my appointment? 
Once we resume our full range of services at the hospital, we will be in contact with you to reschedule your appointment. We are currently unable to advise on a timeline relating to this, but in the meantime, if you feel your condition is worsening, please email outpatients@eyeandear.org.au or call 9929 8500. 

Are surgeries still going ahead? 
Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on 25 March 2020, the Eye and Ear is suspending all Category 3 and most Category 2 elective surgery immediately, to help us prepare for the impact of the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We are currently reviewing all patients on the Elective Surgery Waiting List and will only be providing surgery to patients who have been deemed by medical staff as requiring lifesaving, emergency and essential elective surgery. 

What happens if my surgery is cancelled?  
If you are listed as a Category 2 or Category 3 patient and the treating team advises that your surgery is not essential at this time, we will not proceed with your elective surgery during the COVID-19 pandemic. This will not impact your place on the waiting list or disadvantage you in anyway.

It is not known when elective surgery services will return to normal but we will contact you to book your surgery as soon as the hospital is in a position to provide the best possible care for you. 

What do I need to do if my surgery is cancelled? 
We’d like your help during this time to ensure our Elective Surgery Waiting List record is up to date during this period. 

Please contact imren.kuyucu@eyeandear.org.au as soon as possible if a) you no longer want your procedure OR b) you have had your procedure at another hospital. Otherwise, there is no action you need to take. 

What should I do if my condition feels like it is getting worse?
Please contact your GP or referring doctor if there are any changes in your condition, if you’d like advice about pain management or you are requiring other support during this time. We appreciate this is a difficult time and regret that the COVID-19 situation is affecting our services in this way. Your support and understanding during this challenging period is appreciated.

We will also continue to provide emergency care at the Eye and Ear hospital. We cannot provide advice over the phone so if you feel your eye or ear condition requires emergency attention, please visit our Emergency Department. 

I am a research patient taking part in a trial, should I still attend my appointments?
Your safety is always our top priority. We are continuing to run essential Clinical Trials and clinical research projects. If you are participating in a current research trial/project your Principal Investigator will be in touch with you directly. They will inform you of how the research trial/project you are participating in will progress during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have any questions, concerns or if you have not heard from your Principal Investigator please contact them before your next appointment (please note response times may vary during the COVID-19 pandemic).

Can someone accompany me to my appointment? 
We are limiting the number of visitors we have at the hospital. If possible, we ask that patients come alone to the hospital. If a carer/support person is absolutely required, this is restricted to one person – this applies for children also. If you are bringing a carer / support person, please ensure that they: 

  • Do not have any of the following symptoms: fever, cough, sore throat or shortness of breath;
  • Have not been overseas in the past 14 days; or in contact with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19.

If accompanying a friend or family member for day surgery, you will not be permitted to wait in the hospital for surgery to finish. You will be required to leave the hospital and only return when you receive a phone call from our staff to advise that the patient is ready for discharge.

Can someone visit me if I am staying the night at the hospital? 
Partners and carers are welcome to visit if you are in our inpatient ward; however, visits are restricted to one visitor per patient, per day. Visits will be limited to a maximum of 1 hour.  We respectfully ask that other family members and friends do not visit at this time.

Partners or carers should not visit patients if they have any of the following symptoms: fever, cough, sore throat or shortness of breath and/or have been overseas in the past 14 days; or in contact with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19. 

What measures are in place to reduce the risk of infection at the hospital? 
A number of measures have been put in place at the hospital, to ensure patient and staff safety. These include: 

  • An assessment upon arrival for all visitors and staff entering the hospital: this includes questions from our clinical staff, as well as having your temperature taken; and being asked to sanitise your hands.
  • Social distancing measures have been put in place to separate patients in waiting rooms; and visitor numbers have been reduced to allow for this;Additional hand sanitising stations have been set up throughout the hospital; 
  • Additional cleaning is taking place in frequently used areas; 
  • We have limited lifts to a maximum of two people.

Will the hospital be closing? 
The hospital currently has no plans to close, and will continue to provide eye and ear care to Victorians. This is a rapidly changing situation and we will update patients if there are any changes to the services we provide. 

What is happening with the old Peter Mac at Eye and Ear on the Park?
St Vincent’s Hospital has been asked by the Department of Health and Human Services to manage bringing 84 new beds into the health system. These beds will be in the inpatient wards on the old Peter Mac site, which is located at Eye and Ear on the Park. This is not an area that the Eye and Ear functions in. We are working closely with both St Vincent’s and DHHS ensuring that our patient safety remains a key priority with all decisions that are made.

I need my prescription refilled, but I don’t want to travel to the hospital. What can I do? 
If you have questions or concerns about coming to the hospital to get your prescription refilled, contact our Outpatients Booking Unit on outpatients@eyeandear.org.au or call them on 9929 8500 to speak to an operator. 

I need to get my eye injections? Can they wait?
For specific queries relating to your treatment, contact our Outpatients Booking Unit on outpatients@eyeandear.org.au or call them on 9929 8500 to speak to an operator. 

I am concerned about traveling to the hospital, as I use public transport. What are my options? 
If you do not want to travel to the hospital, given the current situation, we can work with you to cancel your appointment. Please email outpatients@eyeandear.org.au  and include your appointment details in the email. Alternatively, you can call 9929 8500.
Currently the hospital has reduced capacity to assist patients to be transported to appointments as the Red Cross driver network has been significantly reduced. Patients can be transferred to the Transport officer to discuss their eligibility for non-emergency ambulance.
 

Gisborne Street Entrance Closure

For the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, our Gisborne Street entrance will be closed. This is to ensure everyone passes through Clinical Concierge to answer screening questions, have their temperatures checked,  hands sanitised and be offered a face mask (face masks are compulsory of visiting a patient). This process keeps us and you safe.

Staff, patients and visitors are asked to use the entrance at Morrison Place around the corner, following the Emergency Signs (it is approx. a 100 m walk). 

We apologies for any inconvenience this will cause, but hope you can understand the reasons for taking this decision.

 

Play your Part

There are also some very simple steps that you, your family and other visitors can take to help us to prevent the spread of infection. Our staff are following these same precautions:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitiser that contains at least 60 per cent alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or the crook of your elbow.
  • Stay at home if you feel unwell.
  • Avoid contact with people outside your household members
  • Maintain a distance of 1.5 metres between yourself and others.
  • Do not leave your home, unless for the following reasons:
    • Exercise;
    • Work / education if necessary;
    • To get groceries that you need;
    • For medical care or caregiving purposes.
  • Get vaccinated for flu (influenza) as soon as it is available. This can help reduce the further pressure on hospitals. 

For the Latest Information

Helpful information and guidelines on social distancing and how to help stop the spread can be found here

This is a rapidly changing situation, please visit the Department of Health and Human Services website for the latest information.

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