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

Free flu shots for under 18s in Kaikoura and Hurunui

Thursday 19 April 2018Media release3 minutes to read

Families in the Hurunui and Kaikōura districts can once again ensure their children have the best protection available against the flu this winter – and it won't cost a cent!

Young people from six months to 17 years of age living in the Kaikōura and Hurunui areas (within the Canterbury District Health Board) can receive free flu shots.

The flu vaccine is now in General Practices so people should call their local General Practice team to book in their flu shot. It's important to get your annual flu shot or immunisation as soon as possible so you're protected before flu season strikes. Other members of your family/whānau may even qualify for a free flu shot – it pays to ask.

Canterbury District Health Board Medical Officer of Health Dr Ramon Pink says the flu is much worse than a common cold.

“It is a very serious illness, that can't just be ‘shaken off'. It's been a severe flu season in the Northern Hemisphere, a possible predictor of what we may see in our winter. It's so important that people get vaccinated – not just to protect themselves but also prevent them from passing it on to whānau, friends and workmates.”

In the US, influenza has caused over 28,000 hospitalisations and 151 paediatric deaths in the 2017-2018 season. In New Zealand, flu-related illnesses cause 400 deaths a year and account for 45 percent of illness days each winter in New Zealand, Fightflu figures show.

This year's vaccines have been developed to offer protection against the strain circulating in the Northern Hemisphere winter.

Influenza infection rates are generally highest in children and healthy children are the major cause of the spread of the virus in the community. Around 80 percent of people infected show no symptoms so you can spread the flu bug without knowing you have it – and the elderly, pregnant women and people with chronic health conditions are particularly vulnerable.

“As we're seeing at the moment in the South Island with the spread of the measles virus, it is much better to protect yourself from contagious illnesses by getting vaccinated than dealing with the stress and hardship of getting sick.”

Canterbury District Health Board is urging people to protect their whānau and the wider community by getting their flu shots now. Getting your flu vaccination every year offers the best protection against the flu.

Even if you don't qualify for free immunisation, you may still be able to get one for free from your employer. Flu shots are also available for anyone, for a fee, from a doctor, nurse or some pharmacists.

ENDS

Please note:

Flu immunisation is free for certain Canterbury residents from your doctor, nurse or qualified vaccinating pharmacist if you're in one of these groups:

  • Anyone aged 65 years or over; or
  • Pregnant women (any stage of pregnancy).

Flu immunisation is free only from a doctor or nurse if you're in one of these groups:

  • People under 65 years of age (including children) with long-term health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, respiratory disease (including asthma that requires regular preventive therapy), kidney disease and most cancers;
  • Children aged four and under who have been hospitalised for respiratory illness or have a history of significant respiratory illness; and
  • Young people from six months to 17 years old years of age living in the Kaikōura and Hurunui areas (within the Canterbury District Health Board).

For more information on influenza visit www.fightflu.co.nz.

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Page last updated: 3 October 2018

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