Public hospital patient visitation

Last Updated: 30 Aug 2021 4:14pm

Visiting public hospital patients

A COVID-19 Visitor Policy has been developed for Tasmania’s Public Hospitals and Clinics. The Policy places some restrictions on who can visit and when they can visit, as well as measures all visitors should apply to reduce the risk of COVID-19 being passed on to patients in hospital. This is important because patients may be at higher risk of moderate to severe illness from COVID-19 – particularly as they recover from other illnesses or while undergoing treatment.

Unless you are seeking personal medical treatment or care, you should not visit hospital, outpatient departments or clinic sites if you have:

  • fever (or signs of fever, including chills or night sweats)
  • runny nose
  • cough
  • sore/itchy throat
  • shortness of breath
  • loss of taste or smell.

COVID-19 can also present with the following symptoms that can occur on their own or combined with the other symptoms: headaches, muscle and joint pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, loss of appetite and fatigue. If you are experiencing these symptoms you should consider a COVID-19 test as part of managing your illness. Call the Public Health Hotline 1800 671 738 or your GP for more information.

All visitors will be required to complete a visitor health screening questionnaire prior to entering the hospital. You should not be visiting a hospital or clinic settings if you been advised to quarantine following international or interstate travel.

Follow guidelines such as washing hands prior to and after leaving the ward, covering coughs and sneezes and maintaining physical distancing (at least 1.5 metres) while at the hospital.

Restrictions are in place for specific hospitals and hospital wards. See the table below for more information.

Visitors to private hospitals should contact the hospital directly to find out their policy in relation to visitors.

Face mask requirement

For detailed information about restrictions in place see the Direction Masks at Hospitals – No. 4.

Anyone who enters a hospital (public and private) or a day-procedure centre, including staff, must wear a mask while they remain on the premises. This requirement does not apply to admitted patients and those with exemptions.

GPs working in a practice that are co-located in a hospital, are not required to wear a mask for routine GP work, but once entering the hospital setting with admitted patients, must wear a mask.

It is recommended that masks are worn, but it is not required, within non-hospital-based health care settings.

Visiting hours

Visiting hours for Launceston General, Mersey Community and the Royal Hobart Hospitals are restricted to 2.00pm-6.00pm daily, with the exception of North West Regional Hospital which is 2.30pm – 6pm. Visitors for District Hospitals and Health Centre should check directly with the relevant facility prior to their arrival regarding conditions of entry and hours.

To provide additional safeguards to patients, the below restriction will continue to be in place:

  1. Complete the visitor screening tool on arrival.

To request an exemption on compassionate grounds, for example ICU and Palliative Care, contact the facility you wish to visit and talk with the Nurse Unit Manager or Associate Nurse Unit Manager.

Visitor numbers for wards

Area / ward

Number of visitors

Outpatient clinics and community centres

Support person only

Department of Critical Care Medicine

No more than two visitors per patient will be allowed entry at a time

Emergency Department

A single visitor is permitted in the following circumstances:

  • A parent/guardian of a dependent child
  • A support person for a patient requiring significant physical, communication or comprehension assistance.
  • On compassionate grounds

Neonatal Intensive Care

Parents / carers have unrestricted visiting with a maximum of two people visiting. Compassionate situation – exemptions may be applied for siblings

Paediatric Unit

Parents/carers have unrestricted visiting with a maximum of two people visiting

Pregnancy and birth

Antenatal clinics: Women are requested to attend appointments on their own. In exceptional circumstances, one support person may be allowed, but permission must be sought by phoning the clinic before arriving for the appointment.

Birthing suites: Only two support people are allowed in the birthing suite. If the partner is present, only one other person is allowed.

Postnatal wards: After birth, no more than two visitors are permitted at any one time. The two visitors may be an adult and a child of any age.

Operating Theatre and Recovery Room

Visitors not routinely allowed. Parents may visit children post-surgery

Acute Medical Unit (ACU or ICU)

Two support person permitted

Palliative Care

An upper limit of four visitors for patients receiving end-of-life care, and the capacity for one visitor to stay overnight and for pets to visit where appropriate

See Hospital FAQs for more information.