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Frequently Asked Questions

Who do I contact when I have a query after hours?
After hours queries should be directed to the hospital switchboard on 03 5454 6000.  You will then be transferred to the most appropriate person to answer the enquiry.

Where can my family/visitors get something to eat at the hospital?
Cafes are located in the hospital's main street on ground level and level one. Ask for directions from our friendly staff or volunteers.

Where can I go for help/directions?
The hospital's main reception (level 1) can provide general patient information. Our reception and hospital volunteers can provide general information on ward locations, hospital facilities and services.

Are there interpreter services available?
The interpreter services symbol is displayed at consumer access points and both interpreting and translation services are available via an external provider. On referral or admission, please tell staff which language/ dialect is required, so services can be arranged as needed.

Can I use my mobile phone whilst staying or visiting Bendigo Health?
Yes, but please be courteous of others. Turn your phone to silent or vibrate and speak as quietly as possible so not to disturb other patients, visitors and staff. Due to technology used in certain areas, you will be required to turn off your mobile phone and we ask that you comply. Some of our machines are sensitive to mobile phones and results may be inconclusive or incorrect if competing with mobile phone signals.

What car parking is available for me and my visitors?
Patients may be dropped off and picked up at the hospital’s main entrance in Mercy Street.  Public parking is available in the hospital basement $2 per hour, capped at $10 per day. Other parking around the hospital is as signed and governed by local council.

How do I make an appointment with a specialist?
Appointments should be directed to the department in which your specialist works or through their consultation rooms. Our switchboard 03 5454 6000 can assist and direct your call to your specialist or appropriate area.

Where can I go for a cigarette?
As a health promoting health service, smoking is not allowed on Bendigo Health property and there are no designated areas to smoke. We have a total ban on smoking within our boundaries and these are clearly marked with signage on walls and the ground. Patients can access nicotine replacement therapy and support to QUIT or smoke outside of Bendigo Health grounds.

What is the benefit of using my private health insurance in a public hospital?
As a large regional health service we are able to treat chronic and complex illnesses. Being a private patient in a public hospital you can use your specialist of choice. If they are unavailable, you can choose to be treated by a hospital specialist, on call at that time where you will be admitted under the care of that doctor.
If you are an elective patient, the specialist medical team (consultant, registrar) of that unit will treat you, unless the specialist of your choice has already arranged to treat you.
When you are discharged, you can choose to have your follow-up appointments through the hospital or your specialist may choose to see you in his/her consultation rooms.
By choosing to be a private patient you assist the hospital, to maintain equipment, retain and employ new staff and improve patient care. This in turn benefits all patients and the community as a whole. 

How should I prepare for my stay?
An important way to reduce stress before and during your hospital stay is to plan ahead so you have nothing to worry about on the home front. Personal areas to take care of may include:
• money - pay any outstanding bills and make sure your banking is up to date
• home - if you live alone, make sure friends and/or neighbours know when you are entering hospital and when you are expected home.  Arrange collection of mail, security checks etc.
Check documents that you may have received from Bendigo Health or your doctor to ensure you have everything required for your stay. For example, there may be pre-admission medications you need to take in the lead up to your stay.

What items do I need to bring with me?
Although we provide most of what you'll need, including all linen items, additional personal items should include:
• a lightweight dressing gown
• a nightgown or pyjamas and underwear
• slippers or other comfortable shoes with non-slip soles
• toiletries (soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush or comb, tissues, shampoo, razor.) a pen
• a small amount of money
• any current medication
• Medicare Card and Health Insurance details, if any
• other personal items, such as a sheepskin or special pillows, should be marked very clearly
please do not bring valuables, we can only look after them in emergencies.

Who can visit me?
• family and friends are encouraged to visit patients
• children can sometimes find hospitals daunting. When visiting the hospital we ask that children be supervised by an adult at all times.
• please note that visiting hours and rest periods vary from ward to ward and should be checked prior to visiting.

Is there any accommodation available for relatives at the hospital?
There is limited accommodation available at:

Can I have a family member to stay with me overnight?
• depending on the ward, different rules and arrangements apply. Please contact the ward the patient is staying on for further information
• please be aware that a fee may apply for providing overnight accommodation for family and friends.

What are the food arrangements?
• Wards/Rooms - all meals are prepared and served from our modern kitchen. Special dietry requirements and nutrition information is available on request

What can I expect on discharge from hospital?
Your length of stay in hospital will be determined by the procedure that you have had and your recovery from it. Prior to discharge your doctor will identify if your recovery needs can be met by returning home to your family or a rehabilitation facility. They will identify what follow-up appointments and care is required.
Bendigo Health does not supply or hire items of equipment such as, personal aids, shoes, dentures, spectacles, etc. which may be required to aid your recovery.

Aged Care FAQs 

Fees and charges
Most residents will pay a combination of several fees and charges. Fees are calculated and regulated by the Government. To ensure residents are charged the correct daily fee, all residents admitted must complete the Centrelink form 'Request for an Assets Assessment'. This form can also be used for Veteran Affairs cardholders. (If you have trouble completing the form, Centrelink or DVA are there to assist). The form is used by the Department of Health & Ageing to determine a Resident’s Concessional Status and it is important that you complete this form to avoid extra charges incurred because your facility does not know the value of your assets. The Provider (Bendigo Health) may charge you the higher rate until the form is submitted. The Care Facility may request a copy of the determination to enable them to charge the correct rate. Copies of the form are available prior to admission in the information pack 'Five Easy Steps to Entry into Residential Aged Care'.  
Copies are available from the Resident Services Department, either drop in to collect a copy or phone on 5454 9373 for one to be sent out. Please call our Resident Services Advisor for more details.

Residential Service currently have a contract with a community pharmacies who delivers medicines to the nursing home daily and provides an on-call service at weekends and after hours to ensure that urgently needed medicines are supplied promptly. You may remain with your current pharmacy however they must be able to guarantee an on call service for weekends and public holidays. An itemized pharmacy account will be included with your monthly invoice.
Office hours are 8pm – 5pm, Monday to Friday supported by friendly reception staff.
The telephone number is: 5441 4282.

Medical Care 
Residents  are encouraged to discuss ongoing medical care with their current doctor to ensure they will continue to support you on admission to the home. Your doctor will be required to visit on your admission, then on a regular basis to review your medication charts and your care needs. If your preferring doctor is not able to continue your medical care another general practitioner may be sourced via the Loddon Mallee Murray Medicare Local 5441 7806.  Staff will contact your doctor on your request and if you need urgent attention.  In conjunction with your GP, Simpkin House residents are attended by a psychiatrist and a psychiatric registrar. They attend weekly therefore ensuring good quality behaviour management.

It is also recommended that you give consideration to appointing either a general or enduring power of attorney for thing such as medical treatment, financial or guardianship prior to entry to an aged care home. (The Office of Public Advocate has an information booklet called Take Control which may assist.)

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