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

Celo the safe-snapping app

Thursday 24 May 2018Media release3 minutes to read

Celo works on mobile devices and computers.

Celo works on mobile devices and computers.

Medical staff can't just use Snapchat or WhatsApp when they want to send private information to another professional, so what can they do when they need to get a second opinion in a hurry?

An app for Canterbury health professionals lets medical staff confer or safely share a photo at the click of a button.

Christchurch Hospital Paediatrician Dr John Garrett says the Celo app has been invaluable for his work.

“I go to the Chatham Islands twice a year to see paediatric patients over there. One of my patients was also a patient in the plastic surgery service here.”

The patient's mother told John they were planning to fly to the Christchurch plastic surgery clinic for a follow-up appointment regarding a scar.

The trip would have been a considerable expense for Canterbury DHB.

“But more importantly, it involves three or four days of time off work for that parent, time off school for the child,” John says.

“So what I was able to do with Celo was take a picture of the scar, send it straight to the plastic surgeon he was going to see, and within five minutes have her let me know that the scar looked fine. He didn't need to come to his appointment in Christchurch.”

John says the app is also useful when he is on call.

Registrars can share images with him instead of describing conditions on the phone.

“And then we can make better decisions for that patient,” John says.

Celo is the preferred method of communication in the Paediatrics department, and John is looking forward to it being more widely used in the hospital.

Celo will also soon be used in the West Coast DHB, where clinicians regularly confer with Canterbury DHB staff.

While consumer apps such as WhatsApp allow encrypted image sharing, there are issues with using them in the health system.

Messages and images are stored on each phone and anyone who uses or steals the device can see them.

Celo behaves more like a mobile banking app, where nothing is stored on the device and nobody can access information without the user's unique PIN code.

All users on a Celo network are verified, so there is no chance of a user accidentally sending patient images to someone who doesn't work in healthcare.

Celo Chief Executive Stephen Vlok says the immediate mission is to educate staff on why Celo is important.

“Privacy is becoming more important and Celo offers an alternative to consumer-grade apps.”

There are seven other organisations in New Zealand using Celo, and Mr Vlok expects to announce more soon.

“Beyond Australia and New Zealand, we have targeted the United Kingdom, Europe, Canada, Singapore and the United States as markets for expansion.”

Celo has been developed in partnership with Canterbury DHB as part of the health board's focus on using technology to improve healthcare for patients and staff.

ENDS

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Page last updated: 20 December 2018

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