Patients & Visitors

Inpatient Information

Hospital services

Austin Hospital provides a full range of services to diagnose and treat illnesses and injuries. These include tests (such as blood tests, CT scans and x-rays), treatments (including medication and drug therapy), surgery and mental health and rehabilitation services. These services are provided either while you are staying in hospital (as an inpatient) or while you are attending the hospital for treatment (as an outpatient).

On the day of your admission

  • If your procedure is scheduled for the morning, you should not eat or drink from midnight the night before.
  • If your procedure is scheduled for the afternoon, you should not eat or drink from 7am. You may have a light breakfast of tea and toast, but this must be consumed before 7am.
  • It is important that you arrive on time for your appointment to allow time for preparation.

If you think you will be late, please telephone Austin Health:

  •     Day Surgery and Endoscopy patients
        Phone: 03 9496 5037
  •     Elective Surgery patients
        Phone: 03 9496 3032

Do not arrive too early before your appointment.

What to bring

  • Current medicines and a list of medications that you have taken in the last month.
  • X-rays (if you have any), ultrasounds or reports.
  • Referral letters.
  • Medicare card, private health insurance details, pension card, Department of Veterans’ Affairs card, TAC and WorkCover claim numbers including employer details.
  • Pharmaceutical entitlement number.
  • Two telephone contact numbers of a friend or relative.
  • A labelled overnight bag in which to store your clothes.
  • Name, address and telephone number of your local doctor.
  • Cotton nightie or pyjamas and personal toiletry items.
  • If you have appointed a Medical Enduring Power of Attorney under the Medical Treatment Act 1988 (Vic) (Section 5A), please bring the original of the power of attorney form with you and a copy will be taken and filed in your medical history.

During your stay: practical advice

Alcohol

Alcohol cannot be brought into the hospital.

Electrical appliances

Due to the potential fire risk, you must ask ward staff before you bring in personal electrical equipment such as hair driers, portable radios or CD players.

Meals

Every day you will be given a menu card to order ahead for three meals. Your meals will be chosen for you if you are unavailable or unable to choose for yourself. If you are in theatre or having tests, your chosen meal may be altered automatically to fit in with your schedule. Please tell your doctor or nurse if you have special dietary or religious requirements and you will be referred to a dietician.

Due to food safety regulations, patients should not bring in food from outside that needs to be heated. Food to be served cold must be refrigerated.

Telephones

There is a patient phone at most overnight bed locations. Calls from outside the hospital between the hours of 8:00am and 8:00pm can be directed to all patients by ringing 03 9496 5000. Outgoing calls can be made by patients who have a Telstra Phoneaway card. These may be purchased on-site at vending machines, or at external retail outlets (such as Post Offices). Instructions on how to use the system are available in the wards.

The use of mobile phones is permitted in the public areas (lounges, waiting areas, corridors etc) so long as there is no operating medical equipment within 2 metres (due to possible interference).

Television/radio

If you would like to hire a bedside television, you can do this yourself through the free Patient Information Channel. When you have the TV switched on, please use your Nurse Call bell to access this channel on Channel 1. Access to selected radio stations is also included in your TV hire.

If you have any questions or need assistance, please call 03 9496 4779.

Valuables & personal items

Please do not bring jewellery, money or valuable personal items to hospital, except small amounts of change for newspapers or other small necessities. The hospital cannot accept responsibility for the loss or damage to your property.

Smoking

100 per cent smoke-free

In the interests of patient, visitor and staff health, smoking is not permitted anywhere within Austin Health's buildings or grounds.

Speak to your treating team about obtaining free nicotine replacement therapy during your visit, or support to help you quit.

Pharmacy

Please bring a list of all medicines you take and any recent changes that have been made. This includes all prescription medicines and those purchased in a pharmacy, supermarket or health food shop. These medicines will be reviewed by a your treatment team and then given to hospital staff for safe keeping during your hospital stay. All of your medicines are provided as part of your care while you are an inpatient. Do not take any medicine from your own supply while in hospital, as this will interfere with your treatment. Please advise us of any unexpected or allergic type reactions you have had to any medicine in the past.

Family spokesperson

When you are ill, family and friends naturally want regular updates on your progress. However, frequent enquiries to the ward can make it difficult for staff to spend time caring for patients. To avoid this, please nominate one person to be the main contact who can keep everyone updated on your progress.

Pastoral care

Chaplains are available to support patients, relatives and staff. Austin Health chaplains represent all Christian denominations and world faiths. Please ask a member of the ward staff to arrange for a chaplain to visit you.

The hospital’s multi-faith worship space is located on Level 2 of the Austin Hospital Tower overlooking the main forecourt.

Link to location maps

Going home

Hospital staff, with your doctor’s input, will decide when you are able to go home. We will let you know ahead of time so that you can arrange for someone to take you home or we can contact that person for you.

Discharge time is usually 9am. If you can’t arrange for someone to collect you at this time, you may be asked to wait in the Transit Lounge where nursing staff can monitor you until you leave.

Your doctor and nursing staff will make arrangements for any services that you need at home such as Meals-on-Wheels, home nursing, physiotherapy and rehabilitation, and they will advise you of these arrangements.

Before you leave the hospital, please make sure that the people who will be looking after you at home know what they need to do. If you are in any doubt, ask the nursing staff to write out your treatment program.

If you are concerned about any aspect of returning home, please ask your nursing staff to arrange an appointment with a social worker. You should try to arrange this appointment as early as possible before you go home.

This checklist may help you plan your discharge from hospital:

  •      Leave a forwarding address with ward staff, in case they need to contact you.
  •      Make sure you have a time and date for your next Outpatients appointment (if needed).
  •      Ensure you have enough medication and understand how and when to take it.
  •      Make sure you have all of your personal items.

Patients who are transferred to the Royal Talbot Rehabilitation Centre will be shown around when they arrive.

After hospital care

Post-Acute Care

Post-Acute Care is designed to help you adjust to your return home, co-ordinating community services that you may need, such as District Nursing, home help, Meals-on-Wheels and other services. Your needs will be discussed with you and your family before you go home.

Allied Health

Allied Health teams help you to make a faster recovery or manage changes in your daily life after you go home. They work with medical and nursing staff in a multi-disciplinary team. Our Allied Health departments include nutrition and dietetics, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, social work and speech pathology.

Hospital In The Home

Many patients go home with support from the Hospital in the Home (HITH) program. Its wide range of services includes providing intravenous antibiotics or wound management, seven days a week, with an on-call emergency service. Your doctor and nursing staff will discuss HITH with you if they feel you might benefit from it.

Outpatients appointments

When you leave hospital you will normally be given an appointment to see your treating doctor in the Outpatients clinics. It is important that you go to these follow-up appointments so we can check your progress and provide you with any extra treatment you may need.

Patients' rights & responsibilities

As a patient of Austin Health, you have a right to expect high quality, prompt and courteous treatment from our staff. You have a responsibility to provide us with information about your health to help us make the best choices about your care, and to treat all staff, visitors and your fellow patients with respect.

These and other rights and responsibilities are set out in the Patient Rights and Responsibilities leaflet, which is given to all patients. More copies are available from your ward. 

Speakers of languages other than English can access versions of the Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights in Victoria in other languages from the Health Translations Directory.

The following document provides more information about patients’ rights and responsibilities.

In January 2001, Austin Health became the first secular hospital in Australia to publish a Corporate Code of Ethics. The Code of Ethics sets out the principles all Austin Health staff, including non-clinical staff, are expected to follow.

It covers areas including treating patients and their belief systems with respect, upholding individuals’ rights to make informed decisions about their care, and a commitment to high standards of skill and learning. The values, principles and practices in the Austin Health Corporate Code of Ethics apply to everyone, from the boardroom to the boiler room.

Hard copies of the Code of Ethics can be obtained from the main reception desk on level 1 of the Austin Hospital Tower.

Link to location maps

Patient privacy brochure

The Health Records Act 2001 describes how hospitals may collect, store, use, disclose and dispose of information about patients. Under the Act, Austin Health must give all patients a brochure that explains its policy of respecting your privacy, how we share information needed to treat you and its legal obligations towards your care.

This brochure is normally provided to all patients when they arrive.

Please ask ward staff if you would like a new copy or a copy in a language other than English.

Private patients

All Patients that are admitted to Austin Health are asked to choose whether they wish to use their Private Health Insurance or be admitted as a Public Patient.

All patients requiring medical care will be prioritised based on clinical needs, and single room accommodation will also be allocated based on clinical need.

As a private inpatient payment from your health fund will be accepted as the full settlement of the account. Pharmacy charges at discharge are paid by both public and private patients. Television and telephone charges are paid by all patients.

There are many advantages of using your private health insurance. Please read the brochure below to find out more or for more information about using private health insurance at any Austin Health facility, telephone Patient Accounts on 03 9496 3188.

 

Clinical trials

Austin Health runs clinical trials in a number of areas. Your doctor can provide more information if you are interested.

Infection control

In the unlikely event of a staff member having an accident that exposes them to your blood, you may be asked to be tested for Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV. In an emergency situation, such testing may need to be carried out before you have been able to consent.