COVID-19

Information for Monash Gastroenterology Patients During COVID-19
  • Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease

    • The Gastroenterology Society of Australia (GESA) IBD Faculty, in collaboration with Crohn’s & Colitis Australia (CCA), has developed guidance for people living with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Patients with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis can also find answers to Frequently Asked Questions about how what the COVID-19 pandemic means for their condition at the regularly updated Crohn’s & Colitis Australia COVID-19 webpage.

    Patients with Gastrointestinal & Liver Diseases

    The Gastroenterology Society of Australia (GESA) has provided a statement with frequently asked questions for patients with GI & liver diseases (updated 19 March 2020).

    Endoscopy Services at Monash Health during COVID-19

    The COVID-19 pandemic is having a significant impact on endoscopic services at Monash Health.

    Answers to the Frequently Asked Questions provided below is a general guide. The information provided is current as of 10th June 2020 and will be updated regularly. Decisions and plans can change rapidly in the current environment, so this information may lag behind what is currently in place

Will my outpatient endoscopy be delayed during the COVID-19 pandemic?

It is likely that there will be a delay in the normal bookings for endoscopy. This is to reduce the number of patients coming to the Endoscopy Unit to minimise your exposure. In accordance with governmental and public health guidance, we are currently running at reduced capacity and this is having an impact on wait times. We understand that this may be frustrating but appreciate your understanding.

Emergency inpatient endoscopy will continue as required during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Who is deciding when an endoscopy is scheduled?

All endoscopy referrals are currently being reassessed by specialist gastroenterologists to determine if they should proceed or can be postponed. Specialists are using national guidelines by the Gastroenterological Society of Australia (GESA) specifically created to assist with triaging endoscopy during the COVID-19 pandemic. You may receive a call from a Monash Health gastroenterologist or Endoscopy Liaison Nurse to help clarify your symptoms to accurately triage your endoscopy. If your phone displays a “Blocked Number”, please answer it as it may be from Monash Health.

Is it safe to have an endoscopy during the COVID-19 pandemic?

The risk of contracting COVID-19 during an endoscopy is unknown, but thought to be very low. The doctors and nurses looking after you during the endoscopy procedure will be using Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in accordance with Department of Health and Monash Health protocols to safeguard yourself and themselves during the endoscopy.

What precautions are being undertaken if I am having an endoscopy?

If your endoscopy has been deemed urgent to proceed, we are following all Department of Health recommendations to undertake your endoscopy in a safe environment for yourself and for Monash Health staff.

These include:

  • An Endoscopy Liaison Nurse will contact you to ask you COVID-19 screening questions prior to your endoscopy.
  • On the day of endoscopy, you will be asked COVID-19 screening questions. If you are unwell with FEVER (≥ 38oC) , HISTORY OF FEVER (eg. night sweats, chills) or symptoms of an ACUTE RESPIRATORY INFECTION (eg. cough, shortness of breath, sore throat), please do not come in for your endoscopy and contact the Endoscopy Liaison Nurse on (03) 9554 8971.
  • You will be distanced from other patients whilst in the Endoscopy Unit
  • The endoscopy equipment and rooms are thoroughly cleaned before and after each endoscopy
  • Only 1 relative or caregiver will have access to the Endoscopy Unit when appropriate, after being asked COVID-19 screening questions themselves
  • You may be contacted up to 14 days after your procedure by Monash Health to ask about any new diagnosis or development of COVID-19 symptoms

We thank you in advance for complying with these arrangements.

What if my symptoms get worse whilst I am waiting? Who do I contact?

If you are acutely unwell, please contact 000 or your GP for advice.

We have established an Endoscopy “hotline” (phone and e-mail) for your GP to contact should they have concerns regarding any delays in your procedure. Enquiries will be addressed by a gastroenterologist and we will endeavour to respond within 24 hours and advise accordingly.

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