Public hospital patient visitation

Last Updated: 18 Nov 2020 9:38am

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 screening tool 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.

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. From Friday 30 November, the Mersey Community Hospital emergency department will resume a 24-hour service.

To provide additional safeguards to patients, the following restrictions will also be in place:

  1. Visitors will be limited to a maximum of one per patient at any one time (note exceptions below for specific hospital wards or locations).
  2. The use of alternative methods of communication ie telephone or FaceTime/Skype to stay connected with families/carers/social networks should be encouraged.
  3. Visitors should not congregate in common areas or use kitchenettes/pantries/other shared areas across the organisation.
  4. Visitors within multi-bed rooms should be monitored to ensure adherence to physical distancing principles.

Please note exceptions to this may be negotiated at unit management level (Nurse Unit Manager) with consideration on a case-by-case basis. Contact the Nurse Unit Manager or Associate Nurse Unit Manager at the hospital if seeking an exception.

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

Maternity Unit

An upper limit of two people to support mothers in the maternity unit (this limit of two includes the partner, if the partner is present)

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.

Health Services in the North West

From Friday 30 November, the Mersey Community Hospital emergency department will resume a 24-hour service. If you require emergency health care in the North West,  please contact Triple Zero (000) or present to the emergency department at the North West Regional Hospital.

For all other healthcare needs contact your regular GP. To support non-emergency patients in the North West, additional GP services are being arranged.