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

Early Childhood Education Sunsmartest

Thursday 6 December 2018Media release3 minutes to read

Charlotte MacDonald and Max Motornyi Kidsfirst Kindergarten Hoon Hay - hats on now sunscreen

Charlotte MacDonald, Max Motorngi and Zephaniah Esera, Kidsfirst Kindergarten Hoon Hay – hats on, now sunscreen

Early childhood educators are creative and conscientious in protecting young children from skin damage from our harsh New Zealand sun. A recent survey by the Cancer Society and Canterbury District Health Board of 26 early childhood education settings showed how teachers help protect tamariki by providing spare hats and sunscreen.

All of the early childhood providers surveyed also have sun protection guidelines which include provisions for shade, requiring tamariki to wear wide-brimmed hats outside, and re-applying sunscreen throughout the day. Together our youngest and their teachers show us all how it should be done – and how soon we seem to forget.

Teacher feedback suggested that not all New Zealanders know that sunscreen is best applied 20 mins before going into the sun, and that ALL tamariki need protection, no matter the colour of their skin.

Amanda Dodd, Deputy Manager Health Promotion for the Canterbury West Coast Cancer Society says early childhood educators are doing a great job, sometimes with limited resources, to protect our smallest tamariki.

“We realise we need to emphasise the ‘Slip Slop Slap and Wrap message’ again for everyone. One thing that we may all overlook is covering up tamariki with clothing that falls below elbows and knees” says Amanda.

Jocelyn Wright, Director at Hagley Community Preschool says, ‘I talk with families new to New Zealand and they are not always aware of how harsh our sun can be. We talk with them about how children are best protected.’

In conversation with educators, the Cancer Society and Canterbury DHB have found the biggest barrier to effective sun protection is how costly sunscreen can be for some

The Cancer Society is reminding New Zealanders that while sunscreen can be viewed as expensive, it is not an item we have in our shopping basket each week so the cost is spread out over weeks if not months.

“Protecting our skin is very important for our future health. There are other tools in the SunSmart toolkit too, such as making sure tamariki are wearing hats and clothing that covers skin (or a rash top if swimming outdoors), and seeking shade particularly when the levels of Ultra Violet Radiation (UVR) levels are 3 and above on the UV Index.

“We need to remember that it is UVR exposure that causes skin damage and not the heat of the sun.”

Together these measures are very necessary if we are to reduce the frightening rates of skin cancer here in New Zealand which, unfortunately, are still the highest in the world.

“Children should not be getting sunburned at any age as it does lasting damage to the skin. We need to learn from our early childhood educators (and our smallest tamariki) and develop good habits for life. Slip, slop, slap, and wrap – simple!” Amanda says.

ENDS

For further information contact:

Amanda Dodd, Deputy Health Promotion Manager, Canterbury Cancer Society: 021 915 605

Kerry Marshall, Communities Team Manager, Community and Public Health, Canterbury DHB: 03 378 6832

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Page last updated: 13 December 2018

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