ORANGE

Hospital visiting guidelines updated 20 July 2022: Hospital visitors must wear a surgical/medical paper mask. Fabric face coverings are no longer acceptable. See our COVID-19 pages for detailed information about hospital visiting guidelines, COVID-19 tests and care in the community advice. See www.vaccinatecanterburywestcoast.nz for information about vaccinations.

We are at ORANGE according to the NZ COVID-19 Protection Framework

Last updated:
20 July 2022

Mask exemptions accepted for people seeking treatment
Any member of the public with a mask exemption is welcome in all our facilities when attending to receive health care and *treatment. Please show your mask exemption card and appointment letter to staff at the entrance.

*Treatment includes: coming into the Emergency Department, outpatient appointments,  surgery or a procedure.

For visitors to all facilities effective from Wednesday 20 July 2022

With the recent resurgence in cases in Canterbury, largely due to the Omicron BA.5 subvariant we are seeing an increase in demand right across the health system. Presentations to our Christchurch ED and Ashburton’s AAU are higher than ever and admission rates are high, which means we have a shortage of resourced beds.

Recently, we have seen too many unwell people coming to visit someone in hospital and too many that cannot or will not wear a medical mask. This increases the risk to vulnerable people in hospital. For these reasons we need to everything we can to minimise these risks.

We have therefore tightened visitor restrictions for all Te Whatu Ora Waitaha Canterbury hospitals and health facilities.

Kia whakahaumaru te whānau, me ngā iwi katoa – this is to keep everybody safe:

  • One visitor per patient in the hospital at any given time, except where stated otherwise in the ‘exceptions’ section below.
  • No visitors under 16 to any part of our facilities.
  • No visitors to COVID +ve patients other than in exceptional circumstances.
  • No eating or drinking at the bedside or anywhere other than cafes or areas designated for eating/drinking, as taking your mask off puts patients at risk.
  • Visitors or support people must not visit our facilities if they are unwell with cold or flu-like symptoms (even if they have tested negative) or have had a recent tummy bug.
  • Do not visit if you are COVID +ve or a household contact of someone who has tested positive
  • Surgical/medical masks must be worn at all times at all sites and will be provided if people don’t have them. Mask exemptions do not apply in our facilities – people who cannot tolerate a mask cannot visit at this time.
  • Hand sanitiser stations are visible and must be used.

By sticking to the rules above, you help keep our patients, staff, other visitors and yourself safe. We thank you in advance for your patience and understanding as our staff work hard to protect and care for some of the most vulnerable in our community.

Exceptions to the ‘one visitor’ policy

  • Exceptions can apply in some circumstances where trusted whānau members provide assistance, reassurance and other support for therapeutic care or on compassionate grounds – please talk to the ward’s Charge Nurse to discuss this before you come to hospital to visit. For whānau with an essential support role as a Partner in Care – again, please check with the ward’s Charge Nurse before you come to hospital to visit.
  • People attending Christchurch ED or Ashburton AAU can have one support person with them.
  • Women in labour and in the birthing suite can have two named support people + their community LMC/midwife if they have one – for the duration of the birth only. All other women on the Maternity Ward are allowed one support person for the duration of their stay in our facilities at Christchurch Women’s Hospital and other maternity units. Only one support person can be with each woman in the maternity ward, and one support person for maternity clinic appointments. No under 16s are allowed to visit or attend appointments.
  • Parents/caregivers can be with their baby in NICU.
  • Parents/caregivers are able to be with their child in hospital (Except Children’s Haematology and Oncology Day patients where only one parent or caregiver is permitted).
  • People requiring support when attending an appointment can have one support person. Please let the relevant service know if you need this so they are able to accommodate your request.

Visiting patients with COVID-19

  • To avoid them becoming infected with COVID-19 and passing it one, visitors to COVID-19 positive patients will not be allowed except in extenuating circumstances – by prior agreement with the Charge Nurse Manager only, and wearing an N95 mask.
  • Other methods of communication will be facilitated e.g. phone, facetime, zoom etc.

You must NOT visit the hospital if you

  • are a household contact of a COVID-19 positive case
  • are COVID-19 positive
  • Have a cold or flu/COVID-19-like symptoms (even if you are testing negative for COVID-19)

Exceptions for people with disabilities

An exception will be made for people with disabilities who are in hospital or have to attend an outpatient appointment – where they need a support person to access health services. For example, a sign language interpreter, support person for someone with a learning disability, or someone to assist with mobility. The support person is in addition to the one permitted visitor.

Everyone visiting our facilities must wear a mask, no exceptions

While we appreciate that some people have legitimate reasons for being exempt from wearing a mask and may even have an official card to confirm this, people who cannot or will not wear a mask cannot visit someone in hospital or attend hospital, other than to access healthcare treatment*. This is another measure to minimise the risk to vulnerable patients.

*healthcare treatment includes: Emergency Department care, outpatient appointments, surgery or a procedure. 

Patients and visitors should also read the additional more detailed visiting guidelines for each specific hospital.

More COVID-19 information

Canterbury supports WHO call to handle antibiotics with care

Wednesday 15 November 2017Media release3 minutes to read

Canterbury Health System is getting behind World Antibiotics Awareness Week and you should too – antibiotic resistance caused by the misuse or overuse of antibiotics is one of the biggest threats to global health today. So if ever there was good reason for having a health-themed week and something worth getting behind, this is it.

This week the World Health Organization is asking health systems across the world to promote the message that antibiotics must be ‘Handled with Care'. We agree.

Canterbury DHB CEO David Meates says if we carry on as we are, antibiotic-resistant microbes are predicted to kill more than 10 million people worldwide every year by 2050 and cost the global economy US$100 trillion.

“But we don't have to carry on as we are and there are things everyone, including you, can do to help – starting with finding out more by reading on.”

Each time antibiotics are used there is a chance that some bacteria will survive and be resistant to future treatment – which is why you should use them according to medical advice and only when it is absolutely necessary.

If we overuse antibiotics they might not work when you really need them and leave you vulnerable to new infections for a while. Even when used correctly, antibiotics can have side effects such as skin rashes, diarrhoea, or thrush – that may be because each treatment wipes out the good bacteria along with the bad and leaves the way clear for the wrong bacteria to become dominant.

Here's what you can do:

  • Only take antibiotics that have been prescribed specifically for you.
  • Seek advice and follow directions from your prescriber or a pharmacist.
  • Clean your hands frequently using soap and water or hand sanitiser, especially:
    • before eating;
    • after going to the toilet;
    • when visiting vulnerable people – in hospital or aged residential care homes; and
    • after handling compost or soil.

What not to do:

  • Don't take them, or ask for them, for viruses like a cold or flu. They won't help and will probably make you feel worse.
  • Don't take antibiotics prescribed for someone else.
  • Don't keep antibiotics from a previous treatment – it's too easy for them to be misused later.

Here's what we are doing

As part of a joint project with the Canterbury Initiative, our other CCN partners – the Canterbury Community Pharmacy Group and the Department of General Practice at the University of Otago – we have created some resources for general practice and pharmacy.

Look out for a ‘waiting room' poster that pushes the message that antibiotics don't fix everything and prompts people to seek advice from their prescriber or a pharmacist.

Look out too for a ‘consulting room' pledge poster which confirms your health provider's commitment to always providing the best care for your needs  – which will not involve prescribing antibiotics where they would do more harm than good.

“While the ‘Handle with Care' message is relatively simple and we hope this week will boost awareness of the issue, together we need to become part of a massive worldwide shift in how we think about using antibiotics,” Mr Meates says.

ENDS

For more information, visit WHO World Antibiotic Awareness Week.

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Page last updated: 3 October 2018

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