Visiting a Hospital or Care Facility

How can you protect people you are visiting in a hospital, residential aged care facility or rehabilitation hospital?

Download the Fact Sheet

All visitors to healthcare facilities are required to adhere to directions and advice of the facility and treating Health Care Workers.

Protect your loved ones and the health care workers within these facilities. Only visit when you are well. Stay home and do not visit if you are sick or have had any symptoms within the last three days that could include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea/loose bowels, fever (or feeling feverish), an uncontrolled cough or tickle in the throat, or a rash.

These are the things you should be aware of if visiting someone when you are well:

  • Wash your hands and often – before and after visiting. Make sure everyone that visits washes their hands. Clean your hands after touching your eyes, nose, or mouth, after using the restroom, and before and after eating or drinking.
  • Remember to get your yearly flu shot.  The flu (or influenza) can cause severe illness and sometimes death in long-term care residents.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with your sleeve, and do not sit on the resident’s bed or handle the equipment.
  • Human Metapneumovirus and Adenovirus can cause symptoms that look like a cold symptoms but it can also turn into pneumonia. It spreads when someone coughs or sneezes and then touches someone with their contaminated hands.
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) causes severe flu-like symptoms. It also spreads when someone coughs or sneezes and then touches someone with their contaminated hands.
  • Wear surgical masks if requested by staff. Remove the masks when leaving patient/resident care areas, and if you touch the mask, replace it.
  • Recognize when you think you are getting sick. Staying away is the best thing you can do as you are most infectious during the first 24-48 hours of getting a cold or flu.
  • Gastroenteritis or stomach “bugs” are caused by viruses that can spread like wildfire amongst residents in long-term care communities. Norovirus, the most common cause of gastro, causes severe nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea.
  • Dirty laundry may be the responsibility of family or friends. It is important that you wash your hands as soon as you have touched the laundry items. Ensure when taking laundry home, that it is in a sealed plastic bag that can be thrown out in the normal household rubbish bin once empty. Remember to use a warm wash cycle but if cold wash is all you have then make sure the washing is placed outside on the line to dry in the sun (the sun kills the bugs) or use the hot cycle of your clothes drier.