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

Help keep our tamariki well by keeping bugs like RSV away from babies/pēpi

Friday 9 July 2021Media 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.

Visitor guidance is in place at Christchurch Hospital

A common winter virus called RSV is currently spreading across New Zealand and making babies/pēpi sick. RSV is incredibly infectious and can easily pass from person to person through coughing and sneezing.

Canterbury and West Coast DHBs’ Medical Officer of Health, Dr Ramon Pink says RSV can be very serious for young children and newborns in particular.

“For that reason Canterbury and West Coast DHBs request that only well-parents and caregivers visit their baby/pēpi in hospital and ask people not to visit anyone if they are unwell. Fewer people in means less risk to the baby/patient.

“Please look out for the symptoms below in children under the age of one especially, and contact your GP team or healthcare provider for advice if you are concerned.

“In Canterbury you can call your usual GP number 24/7 for free advice. After hours a nurse will be able to advise you what to do and where to go. On the West Coast people should call their GP during normal hours and Healthline on 0800 611 116 after hours,” says Dr Pink.

Masks are advised for visitors to hospital where they cannot physically distance themselves from strangers or where they are visiting someone who may be particularly vulnerable.

What to look out for
RSV symptoms include a runny nose, decrease in appetite, coughing, sneezing, fever (often mild) and wheezing or noisy breathing. It can cause more serious illness such as bronchiolitis (narrowing of airways in infants) and pneumonia – in which case they will need hospital care.

When to seek urgent advice

Parents and caregivers should seek urgent medical advice if their baby or infant has symptoms and:

  • is under three months old
  • is breathing fast, noisily or is having to use extra effort to breathe
  • looks pale and unwell
  • is taking less than half their normal feeds
  • is vomiting
  • has not had a wet nappy for more than six hours.

Parents and caregivers should call 111 for an ambulance if a child:

  • has blue lips and tongue
  • has severe difficulty breathing
  • is becoming very sleepy and not easy to wake up
  • is floppy
  • has breathing that is not regular, or they pause in their breathing.

Simple things you can do yourself

All the precautions you know so well from our COVID-19 response will also help stop the spread of RSV and other winter illnesses: 

  • Keep children home if they’re sick and stay home yourself if you’re not well
  • Wash your hands often with soap or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow
  • Wear a mask or face covering on public transport or when you cannot physically distance from strangers.

For more information on RSV from the Ministry of Health, visit https://www.health.govt.nz/your-health/conditions-and-treatments/diseases-and-illnesses/respiratory-syncytial-virus-rsv

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Page last updated: 9 September 2021

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