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

Meningococcal disease is not like measles…it’s hard to ‘catch’

Monday 30 September 2019Media release4 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.

Following publicity about the death of a Christchurch dance teacher from meningococcal disease, Canterbury DHB’s public health unit has been fielding calls from concerned parents

Canterbury DHB’s public health unit has been fielding calls from concerned parents following publicity about the death of a Christchurch dance teacher from meningococcal disease.

Canterbury DHB Medical Officer of Health, Dr Cheryl Brunton said unlike measles, which is highly contagious, meningococcal bacteria are hard to catch. They pass from one person to another through secretions from the nose or throat, during close or prolonged contact. Members of the same household as a person who has the disease are at the highest risk of getting it.

“We have identified all close contacts of this young woman and they have been given antibiotics as a precaution, as this can stop them developing meningococcal disease.

“Students who attended dance classes are not considered close contacts, so they do not need any treatment,” Dr Brunton said. 

“I would like to reassure parents that being in the same room as someone with meningococcal disease does not mean you will catch it,” she said.

Meningococcal disease is a fast-moving illness that can start out looking like a flu-like illness.

“It’s a bacterial infection that causes two very serious illnesses: meningitis (an infection of the membranes that cover the brain) and septicaemia (blood poisoning). It can affect anyone – but it’s more common in children under the age of 5, teenagers, and young adults.

“There are several different groups of meningococcal bacteria including groups A, B, C, Y and W. Up to 15% of people carry the bacteria that cause meningococcal disease in their nose and throat without being sick. In some people, for reasons we don’t fully understand, these bacteria sometimes go on to cause disease, spreading through the bloodstream (causing blood poisoning) or to the brain (causing meningitis). The bacteria is spread in saliva droplets and secretions by coughing, sneezing and kissing. Sharing eating and drinking utensils can also spread the bacteria,” Cheryl Brunton said.

Meningococcal vaccination is recommended for young people who are going to live in communal accommodation like hostels or boarding schools but this is not currently publicly funded.  

Several meningococcal vaccines are available in New Zealand, but they aren't free. You can pay for them privately through your General Practice team.

The Ministry of Health funds free vaccinations for groups of people with a high risk of meningococcal disease (mostly people with impaired immune system function). They also recommend but don't fund vaccinations for other groups of people.

See https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/meningococcal/ 

Signs and symptoms of meningococcal disease 

Meningococcal disease symptoms typically develop very quickly over a few hours, but in some cases may develop more slowly over several days. A person with meningococcal disease may only have some of the symptoms. The symptoms don't develop in any particular order.

Common symptoms of meningococcal disease include:

  • a fever (high temperature), although their hands and feet may feel cold
  • vomiting
  • muscle and joint aches and pains.

Common symptoms of meningitis include:

  • a headache, which may be severe
  • a stiff neck
  • sensitivity to bright light
  • drowsiness and confusion (being hard to wake them).

A red or purple rash is common, but it doesn't always happen. One or two spots can appear anywhere on the body then many more appear looking like rash or bruises.

If you’re concerned that someone in your family might have meningococcal disease, call your doctor straight away or dial 111. Say what the symptoms are.

In Canterbury you can call your own general practice team 24/7 and after-hours when the practice is closed simply follow the instructions on the answer phone to be put through to a nurse who can provide free health advice.

If you have seen a doctor and gone home, but are still concerned, don't hesitate to call your doctor again or seek further medical advice. 

ENDS

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Page last updated: 15 September 2020

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