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

COVID-19 Alert Level Four – Updated hospital and clinic visitor policy

Thursday 26 March 2020Media release3 minutes to read

THIS IS AN ARCHIVED PAGE. The advice and information contained in this page may not be current and it should only be used for historical reference purposes.

The DHB's visitor policy has again been updated as we navigate our way through COVID-19 alert level four

Canterbury and West Coast DHBs Chief Executive David Meates has today announced further significant changes to the DHB’s visitor policy in response to COVID-19 (coronavirus).

“We are navigating our way through an extraordinary situation where we must examine our policies to enable us to care for those people who are in hospital in the best possible way.

“To this end our new visitor policy is designed to protect those who are receiving care in our facilities. It is a policy with tiaki (protect), manaaki (care and support) and aroha (love) at its core.

“Now is the time for our Canterbury and West Coast communities to step up and help us protect and care for all those in our care during these challenging times by following this updated visitor policy, says David.

The following changes apply with immediate effect and until further notice

In line with the Government’s directive that we are to escalate to COVID-19 alert level 4 protocol, all Canterbury and West Coast DHB facilities have adopted a no-visitors policy, with only a few notable exceptions.

The exceptions to the no visitor policy include:

  • A nominated person supporting a terminally ill patient through their end of life care
  • A parent/guardian who is supporting a child
  • The chosen support person of a woman who is giving birth. This does not apply to the woman’s postnatal stay however, and no visitors will be permitted during this stage of the woman’s care.

The decision about whether exceptional circumstances apply outside of these exemptions is at the discretion of the Charge Nurse/Midwife Manager or another lead clinician.

In all exceptions where a visitor is allowed to access any DHB facility, appropriate screening will take place before they are allowed to enter the care environment to ensure they are well, have clean hands and are using appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

“It’s vital that we reduce the numbers of people coming into our facilities to reduce the opportunity for any infections to spread. I would like to thank people in advance for their cooperation and playing their part to keep our patients safe,” David says.

For people with outpatient appointments, if you are unwell or have potentially been exposed to anyone with COVID-19 symptoms, please do not come in unless it’s an emergency. Call the phone the number on your appointment letter. They may be able to arrange a phone or video consultation as an alternative to a face to face appointment.

Only people with symptoms should call Healthline’s COVID-19 line on 0800 358 5453.

ENDS

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Page last updated: 30 July 2020

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