Your hospital appointment or stay
Due to COVID-19, we have a number of safety measures in place to protect women, babies and families in our care.
Whether you’re coming to the Women’s for a clinic appointment, day surgery or any other reason, you may notice things are a little bit different.
We realise some changes may be disappointing for our patients and their families, but we ask for your understanding and patience as we work to ensure your health and safety.
If you test positive to COVID and you have an upcoming appointment or admission, please call us on 8345 2000 (Parkville) or 9076 1233 (Sandringham) so we can develop a plan for your care.
If you have an outpatient clinic or imaging appointment at the Women's in Parkville, you can bring one adult support person with you. At Sandringham, we ask that you come to your appointment alone at this time.
Some clinical rooms and waiting areas in Parkville have space limitations so your support person may need to wait elsewhere at times. Please note, unless exceptional circumstances apply, we ask that you do not bring children to your appointment at this time. You can find out more about Permitted visitors on our Planning a visit page.
Before you enter hospital, you and your support person will need to complete an online registration form to present to our screening desk. Please allow a little extra time for screening on arrival. A face mask will also be provided for you to wear.
Our friendly Screening Team or Volunteer Guides can direct you to where you need to go in the hospital.
In addition to our hospital midwives, having a birth partner to provide personal support is important for your well-being during labour.
Under current hospital restrictions, you'll be able to have two (2) support people with you during labour and birth*. You can find out more about Permitted visitors on our Planning a visit page.
You and your support people will be screened on entry. If your support people do not pass screening, they will not automatically gain entry to the hospital. Support people may be eligible for a Chief Health Officer exemption allowing them to gain entry, please contact us before your arrival to discuss.
As there is no waiting area, your support people will need to stay in the birthing room with you the whole time, with reasonable exceptions, of course.
Our midwives and doctors will be wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) during your labour.
They will work with you to manage the pain of your labour, with a number of non-medical and medical interventions available.
Keep asking your doctor or midwife any questions throughout your labour and birth. Our staff are there to help and guide you.
While they will be wearing PPE, you won’t be required to wear a mask or any other PPE during your labour. You may be required to wear a mask if you move around the hospital, and your support people will be required to wear a mask at all times.
These measures are in place to keep you, your baby and the staff caring for you safe.
After your baby is born and providing it is well, you’ll be able to have skin-to-skin contact in the birth suite. You'll also be encouraged to breastfeed.
When you move to the postnatal ward with your baby, you can have one (1) visitor each day*. This includes your partner or designated support person, who can visit outside of visiting hours. Visiting hours in Parkville are 2pm to 8pm. Visiting hours in Sandringham are 2pm to 7pm. All visitors must pass screening each day to enter. You can find out more about Permitted visitors on our Planning a visit page.
Please be aware, due to space limitations in some areas/rooms, your visitor may be asked by ward staff to step out of your room or in the case of a shared patient room, may be asked to leave. This is to ensure physical distancing can be maintained and to keep other women and babies in our hospital as well as our staff, safe.
When you are discharged from hospital, you will receive support through our postnatal care in the home program. Some of these appointments may be done in person or over the phone.
*If you are isolating or have tested positive to COVID at the time of your labour and birth, we will work with you to develop a safe and individualised plan for your support person and visitors during your stay at the Women’s.
Two (2) parents or guardians, or designated support person, are welcome to visit a baby in NICU or special care nursery together at any time. No other visitors, including children, are allowed except in exceptional circumstances. Families must contact the nurse manager before visiting if exceptional circumstances apply.
Due to space limitations in some rooms, you may be asked to wait in another area while clinicians attend to your baby.
Your Care Manager can also help you access supports and services that may be helpful to you and your family while your baby is in the nursery.
You can find out more about Permitted visitors on our Planning a visit page.
Non-urgent elective surgery has resumed across Victoria. However, we appreciate your patience as it will take some time for our hospital to reach out to patients who have been waiting so we can schedule their surgery. We encourage you to speak to your General Practitioner if you feel your condition needs to be reviewed and re-prioritised to a more urgent category.
Patients booked for elective surgery will be contacted by our Elective Surgery team to organise collection of a Rapid Antigen Test to self-administer prior to presenting to the hospital on the day of surgery. Please allow extra time for screening on arrival.
When you are ready to be picked up after your surgery, we will phone your designated support person to let them know. Your support person cannot wait in the hospital during your surgery. They will be able to enter the hospital briefly to help you to a car after your surgery.
If you are a patient on our 5 North Complex Care and Antenatal Ward, you can have one (1) visitor each day during visiting hours if the visit is required to support your physical or emotional wellbeing and this cannot be provided by other means, such as video or telephone calls. Visiting hours in Parkville are 2pm to 8pm and in Sandringham they are 2pm to 7pm.
Some of our patients have been identified as suitable for phone or video appointments. If you are one of these patients you will be contacted directly and provided with details. Find out more about our telehealth service.
Support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women
The Women’s acknowledges the strength and resilience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people – the first peoples and custodians of the land, rivers and sea. We recognise the fundamental significance of cultural traditions, beliefs and connection to Country, family and community for health and wellbeing.
Our Badjurr-Bulok Wilam service is available to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and families accessing hospital services. Please email or call 03 8345 3047 Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm, to chat with a member of our team about how they can best support you.
Our Baggarrook midwives continue to provide the highest standard of maternity care during pregnancy, labour and birth.
We know the presence of family is very important to feeling safe in the hospital. However at this time, we must reduce the number of people coming into the hospital to help protect our patients and community.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients may request an exemption to our visitor policy in some circumstances. Please get in touch with us before your visit.
You can find information about protecting yourself, your community and Elders on the Australian Government Department of Health website and also the Victorian Department of Health website.
Support for people with disability
The Women’s Disability Liaison Officer is available to support you, your family and carers to use the Women’s health services and access the care and treatment you need, in particular, if COVID measures are impacting your access to services.
Our Disability Liaison Officer can offer you, your family and carers:
- General support and advice on accessing women’s healthcare and services, including arrangements for transporting you to and from appointments.
- Specific support to book into our hospital’s clinical services including maternity, gynaecological, sexual and reproductive health, allied health and other hospital services.
- Support to find services at other hospitals, healthcare providers and organisations.
- Assistance by helping your care team to understand your specific needs and making sure you are provided with safe, accessible and inclusive care during your hospital stay and outpatient clinic appointments.
- Support with using services such as the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
Patients with disability may request an exemption to our visitor policy in some circumstances. Please get in touch with us before your visit.
The Victorian Department of Health website offers information about COVID for people with disability and people caring for them.
Support for people from culturally diverse backgrounds
The Women’s cares for patients of all backgrounds, cultures and languages and interpreters are available and experienced in more than 80 community languages. We also provide services for patients requiring an AUSLAN (Australian Sign Language) interpreter. Find out more about booking an interpreter.
The Victorian Department of Health website offers translated information about COVID. Interpreters are also available for calls to the COVID-19 hotline – call 1800 675 398 and press 0.
The Health Translations website has translated resources in more than 80 languages.
The SBS Coronavirus Portal provides information and updates in 60 languages, including audio and video content.
The Australian Government Department of Health website has information about COVID, information about COVID vaccines, and information for pregnant and breastfeeding women that has been translated into multiple languages.
Following the reversal of the Pandemic Order suspending IVF procedures, the Women’s is working closely with Melbourne IVF to recommence its service as soon as possible.
Please note, capacity will increase gradually. We encourage our existing patients to continue to contact us on Day 1 of their cycle for a clinical assessment.
Thank you for your continued patience and understanding.
We know this is a challenging time and we appreciate your understanding and patience as we navigate through this global pandemic. If you have any suggestions or feedback, we welcome it here.