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

It’s not too late to protect yourself against the flu

Tuesday 17 July 2018Media release3 minutes to read

More than a third of Cantabrians have had their flu immunisation already this winter and there's still time for the rest of us to protect ourselves.

Recent data shows that 184,610 flu vaccines have been distributed so far this flu season – more than the totals taken at the end of the season for the previous three years. This is equivalent to 36 percent of the population and puts Canterbury at the top of the country for distributed vaccines.

Canterbury District Health Board Medical Officer of Health Dr Ramon Pink says, “It's encouraging how many people have had their flu shots already but we can still do better.

“We would like to see much higher numbers with our Māori population, particularly our kaumātua over 65 who are funded for free shots and can set a good example for the rest of their whanau.”

Dr Pink says that there is a window of opportunity that people should jump on.

“So far this winter our flu numbers have been flat but from mid to late July we typically start to see the numbers rise. The flu shot can take up to two weeks to start protecting you so people should really get in now and urge their loved ones to do the same.”

This year's vaccines for New Zealand have been developed to offer protection against the strain that circulated in the Northern Hemisphere during their winter, which lead to the worst flu season in nearly a decade. Around 80 percent of people infected with the flu show minimal symptoms so can be spreading it to vulnerable whanāu and members of the community without realising.

Some groups qualify for free flu shots and flu immunisations are  also available for a fee from general practices with some pharmacies also providing free and fee-paying immunisations.

“It's much easier staying well than getting better so I urge people to take every action they can to avoid catching or spreading the flu,” says Dr Pink.

For more information, locations of pharmacies providing flu immunisations, and some fun activities to keep the kids entertained for at least ten minutes, check out our flu-free website flufree.co.nz

ENDS

Note to Editors

Flu shots are 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 shots are 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 flufree.co.nz

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Page last updated: 3 October 2018

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