Emergency Accommodation for frontline healthcare workers

Monash Health employees may be eligible for free emergency accommodation if they are required to self-quarantine or self-isolate and can’t do so safely in their current accommodation.

If you are required to self-quarantine or self-isolate, Monash Health will organise suitable accommodation. Where possible, this will be within reasonable proximity to your usual home or workplace. Employees cannot choose their accommodation or the rating of the accommodation they will be provided.

Accommodation will also be available to people regularly operating in an environment with consistent exposure to COVID-19 patients who require accommodation on compassionate grounds and who cannot safely isolate at home because they live with people who are at-risk or who are other healthcare employees.

Who is eligible for emergency accommodation support?

There are three categories:

Category 1: Employees with unprotected exposure to confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 and who cannot safely self-isolate at home.

Category 2: Employees who have a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 and who cannot safely self-quarantine at home.

Category 3: Employees regularly operating in an environment with consistent exposure to coronavirus (COVID-19) patients and require accommodation on compassionate grounds, or those who cannot safely isolate at home because they live with people who are at-risk or who are other healthcare employees.

All categories include non-clinical hospital employees such as orderlies, clerks, food services staff and cleaners who work on hospital wards. Emergency accommodation is only available to employees, not for their family members or housemates.

Monash Health will retain an element of discretion as to other exceptional circumstances which might also mean that a home environment is not suitable for self-quarantine/isolation for a healthcare worker.

If any employees have family that meet the ‘at risk’ criteria, they should speak to their relevant clinical lead to seek advice.

When do workers have to self-quarantine or self-isolate?

Self-isolation is required for a period of 14 days if there is close contact with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19.

If the recommended infection control precautions have been taken while caring for a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19, such as using the recommended PPE, it is not considered to be a close contact and self-isolation is not required.

Where the worker being accommodated under this program is awaiting a COVID-19 test result, if the worker is advised that they have been informed that they have been diagnosed positive with COVID-19, the worker must immediately notify the Hotels for Heroes program email: covid19.hcwaccom@dhhs.vic.gov.au and their employer. If the diagnosis is confirmed between 8:00pm and 8:00am or on the weekend, the worker must also contact the 1800 675 398 phone line.

Consistent with the privacy statement at the end of this document, COVID-positive diagnosis information will be shared with hotel providers in order to safely manage the Hotels for Heroes program.

If a worker has been diagnosed positive with COVID-19, isolation in DoH hotel quarantine is required. The department will advise when a confirmed case can be released from quarantine.

For employees choosing to self-distance due to consistent exposure to COVID-19 patients (Category 3), there is no set time and any decision should be made in conjunction with Monash Health’s Emergency Accommodation team.

When is accommodation unsuitable for self-isolation or self-quarantine?

The home environment may not be suitable for self-isolation or self-quarantine if the worker lives with people identified in an at-risk group, such as:

  1. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 50 years and older with one or more chronic medical conditions
  2. People 65 years and older with chronic medical conditions
  3. People 70 years and older
  4. People with compromised immune systems

The home environment may also be unsuitable for self-isolation or self-quarantine if the worker shares a house with other frontline workers.

Contact details and request form

To discuss your eligibility or to arrange emergency accommodation for self-quarantine or self-isolation purposes, send an email to COVID19employeeenquiries@monashhealth.org or ring the Employee COVID-19 Hotline on (03) 8572 5610.

If you require emergency accommodation outside of 8am-6pm, contact the NCO, who will liaise with the DCOs to make arrangements.

You can download a request form below.

Accommodation request form

Microsoft Word document

Frequently asked questions

Are there activity restrictions?

Employees in self-quarantine cannot:

  • leave that place except in an emergency
  • allow other people into the accommodation

Employees in emergency accommodation for an extended period under compassionate grounds are not considered to be in self-quarantine but are required to follow the guidance and directives relating to restricted activity. Further information is available at http://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au.

How will food be provided to those in isolation?

Those in self-quarantine will provided three meals a day, delivered to your door. You will also have standard hotel cleaning services.

If placed where meals cannot be provided, we will work with the accommodation provide and deliver these. Allergies and special dietary needs will be met. Where room service is available, you can order it at your own expense.

Employees in emergency accommodation for an extended period under compassionate grounds are not considered to be in self-quarantine and will be placed in accommodation where they are able to self-cater.

What is the cost?

Accommodation and three meals per day will be provided free of charge.

The cost for any additional services, such as a mini-bar, 24-hour room service or photocopying will need to be met by the employee directly with the accommodation provider.

Can family or friends visit?

To limit any risk of COVID-19 transmission, employees should not visit family or friends, or have them at the emergency accommodation.

If diagnosed with COVID-19, the employee must not allow any visitors to the emergency accommodation unless for emergency purposes.

Will employees still attend work while in emergency accommodation?

Employees falling within Category 1 or 2 are not permitted to attend work. Those falling within Category 3 will be able to continue to attend work.

Can I leave the accommodation program?

Employees are required to self-quarantine for 14 days after close contact of a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19.

If employees are confirmed to have COVID-19 and move into emergency accommodation, they must complete self-quarantine in the accommodation.

Those who self-isolate or self-quarantine may feel well and not have any symptoms. If they become unwell while in self-isolation, they should seek medical care and advice.

What public health guidance and legal directions issued by the Chief Health Officer must I follow?

While at the accommodation, healthcare employees are expected to adhere to public health guidance for infection control, physical distancing and self-isolation, including any relevant directions of the Chief Health Officer. You will have been provided with relevant information at the point of diagnosis or notification as a close contact. Updated advice is available at: www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus.

Monash Health provides access to any testing that may be required during emergency accommodation. This could include if you develop symptoms during your stay, or if testing is required to determine (if diagnosed as a positive case) if you now meet the requirements to return to work. For further advice on testing, call the Employee COVID-19 Hotline on (03) 8572 5610.

Code of conduct while staying in emergency accommodation

By accepting a place in this emergency accommodation, the worker agrees to the Code of Conduct for this program for the duration of the emergency stay, including:

1. You undertake testing for COVID-19 as required by the program.
2. If you test positive for COVID-19 for the first time while in the emergency accommodation you will:
a) Immediately notify the Hotels for Heroes program on covid19.hcwaccom@dhhs.vic.gov.au and your employer.
b) Not leave your accommodation room for any reason other than an emergency, until transportation is arranged for you.
3. If you are self-isolating or confirmed to have COVID-19:
a) You will not attend work.
b) Agree to the terms of self-quarantine, which include that you cannot leave your accommodation room for any reason other than:
– an emergency; or
– as authorised by the program and arranged with on-site clinical management.
c) You will not visit family or friends, or have family or friends visit the emergency accommodation.

If you do not comply with the code of conduct you may be referred to an Authorised Officer under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act to consider whether an order be made to enact a detention order for posing a risk to public health.

Privacy and consent to sharing your information

In order to arrange appropriate accommodation for you, the Department of Health and Human Services (‘the department’) needs to collect and share the information about you that is set out above (‘Your Information’).  Your Information includes your COVID-19 status and personal details, including any changes to your COVID-19 status whilst you are staying in accommodation (such as test results).

You can choose not to agree to provide some or all of Your Information, and you can choose not to agree to the department collecting and sharing it, however this may mean the department will not be able to arrange accommodation for you.

If you do agree to the department collecting and sharing Your Information, the department:

  • will collect that information when your employer sends it to the department (and the department may do this through a contracted service provider;
  • will use that information to determine your eligibility for accommodation and to administer the accommodation program;
  • will provide that information to contracted service providers who are assisting the department to provide accommodation, including the hotel you will stay in;
  • may use and disclose that information to monitor your compliance with the Code of Conduct set out in the Form above and any directions issued under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008, and as authorised or required by law.

If you change your mind later and wish to revoke your consent, please contact covid19.accommodation@dhhs.vic.gov.au.

You can apply for access to information the department holds about you.  The department’s Freedom of Information Unit may be contacted on:

Tel: (03) 9096 8449 or 1300 650 172

Email: foi@dhhs.vic.gov.au

For information on the department’s Privacy policy or on how the department manages privacy, please contact the Privacy unit:

  • Postal Address: GPO BOX 4057, Melbourne VIC 3001
  • Street Address: 50 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
  • Ph: 1300 884 706
  • Email: Privacy unit

What health and wellbeing support is available during a stay?

Monash Health will provide you with links to material of a general nature regarding COVID-19 and self-isolation/quarantine. There is also a wide range of resources available on the health and wellbeing page. This includes the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which can be accessed by calling 1300 687 327.

As always, all healthcare employees should monitor their own health and wellbeing and seek medical attention if needed.

What if I require further assistance?

If you have any concerns about your emergency accommodation or require further assistance, send an email to COVID19employeeenquiries@monashhealth.org or call the Employee COVID-19 Hotline on (03) 8572 5610.