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

Look out for symptoms of meningococcal disease

Wednesday 23 November 2016Media release2 minutes to read

General Practice teams are being reminded to be on the lookout for symptoms of meningococcal disease, following three young Canterbury children being diagnosed.

The three cases are aged 13 months and two are aged four years old. All developed meningococcal disease in the past fortnight but have all since been discharged from hospital.

Dr Ramon Pink, Canterbury Medical Officer of Health, says meningococcal disease can develop rapidly.

“It's really important to recognise the signs and symptoms as early as possible because, if left too late, the disease can cause death or permanent disability, such as deafness,” Dr Pink says.

“It can affect anyone – but it's more common in children under the age of five, teenagers, and young adults. Students in their first year of tertiary education living in student accommodation may also be at higher risk.”

Dr Pink says it can be treated with antibiotics, but early treatment is very important.

“If you notice any of the symptoms of meningococcal disease or have any other concerns phone your General Practice team, even if you have already been seen by a health professional.

“Remember you can call your usual General Practice number 24/7 for care around the clock. After hours your call will be answered by a nurse who can advise you on what to do and where to go if you need to be seen.

“You're better to be safe than sorry. Make sure you seek medical advice early.”

Meningococcal disease is caused by the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis.

“Meningococcal bacteria are difficult to catch as they don't live for very long outside the body. They pass from one person to another through secretions from the nose or throat, during close or prolonged contact such as kissing or from sharing food, drinks and utensils.”

Symptoms of meningococcal disease include:
​​Rapid onset of symptoms​​
Fever, usually > 38°C
Nausea, vomiting
Headache, sensitive to light
Neck pain or stiffness
​​​​muscle or leg pain
Confusion or reduced level of consciousness
Cold hands and feet
Abnormal skin tone such as pale or blotchy
A rash​​
In infants, additional symptoms and signs can include:​
Poor feeding or not waking for feeds
Irritability or a high pitched cry
Bulging fontanelle (soft spots on a baby's skull), neck retraction with back arching
Fever with cool extremities (hands and feet)
Find more information about meningococcal disease on the healthinfo Canterbury website www.healthinfo.org.nz/Meningitis-meningococcal-disease.htm ​

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Page last updated: 19 December 2018

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