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Health service arrangements

Wednesday, 25th March, 2020

Far West Local Health District CEO Umit Agis urges the practice of good hygiene. PICTURE: Callum Marshall Far West Local Health District CEO Umit Agis urges the practice of good hygiene. PICTURE: Callum Marshall

In response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus), the Broken Hill Health Service has implemented new visitation arrangements for the hospital and across its wards and departments.

These new arrangements are in place for the protection of patients and staff, particularly patients who are acutely unwell.

The following arrangements are in place in the following areas:

BROKEN HILL HEALTH SERVICE

* No visitors to attend the facility with any respiratory symptoms and/or fever.

* Admitted adult patients will be allowed a maximum of 2 adult visitors at any one time.

* Adults attending outpatient appointments will be allowed 1 companion person to attend their appointment with them.

* Children who are admitted to hospital or attending an appointment may still be accompanied by two adult carers.

* Children are no longer permitted as visitors.

The Broken Hill Health Service Kiosk has also closed until further notice in response to COVID-19 and a direction from the United Hospital Auxiliaries of NSW Inc. to its volunteers and members that all gatherings and fundraising activities are to cease until further notice. The health service apologises for the inconvenience and wishes to thank all its volunteers for their tireless work.

EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT

Anyone coming to the Emergency Department are asked to abide by social distancing requirements for protection of patients and staff, and follow new restrictions on accompanying people: 

* All patients are asked to come alone to the ED if they can.

* An elderly/infirm patient can attend with one support person.

* A child can have one support person.

* There will be limited seating in the ED waiting room, as seating has been re-arranged to accommodate social distancing requirements. Some patients may have to wait outside the ED (in hospital foyer) before being treated.

* Only one support person will be allowed bedside for the patient inside the ED.

MATERNITY WARD

The BH Midwifery Group Practice (MGP) and Maternity Ward is increasing its precautionary measures aimed at minimising the risk of COVID-19 exposure to women, babies, visitors and staff in Broken Hill. Visitors will be temporarily restricted to the Maternity Ward and Antenatal Midwife/Obstetric Clinic:

* One companion at out-patient appointments (i.e. antenatal and postnatal visits)

* Two support people during labour and birth

* One visitor at a time on the maternity ward for maximum 30 mins each (not incl. partners)

* No visitors under the age of 18 years old on the Maternity Ward

* Please avoid bringing children to your appointments if possible

* No visitors who have returned from overseas travel within the last 14 days, come into contact with a person suspected or confirmed has having the COVID-19 virus or have any respiratory illness symptoms and/or fever

For details about each ward and department within the hospital, please call them via the hospital switch on 08 8080 1333.

Please help us do everything possible to protect our patients by following these guidelines until further notice.

For more information about COVID-19 please call the Public Health Unit info line on 1300 066 055, National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080 or healthdirect on 1800 022 222.

It is essential that everyone plays a part in containing the spread of COVID-19 by practising good hygiene measures including:

* Clean your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand rub.

* Cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with tissue or a flexed elbow.

* Avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms.

* Stay home if you are sick.

People should also practise physical distancing, which aims to reduce potential for transmission. Physical distancing includes:

* avoiding crowds and mass gatherings where it is difficult to keep the appropriate distance away from others

* avoiding small gatherings in enclosed spaces, for example family celebrations

* attempting to keep a distance of 1.5 metres between themselves and other people where possible, for example when they are out and about in public place.

* avoiding shaking hands, hugging, or kissing other people

* avoiding visiting vulnerable people, such as those in aged care facilities or hospitals, infants, or people with compromised immune systems due to illness or medical treatment

The public are encouraged to continue to monitor the NSW Health website for updated health information. This includes the Clinical Excellence Commission’s updated COVID-19 infection control guidelines.

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