Hospital visitors don’t need a Vaccine Pass, but must wear a surgical/medical paper mask. Fabric face coverings are no longer acceptable. See our COVID-19 pages for visiting guidelines, COVID-19 tests current case numbers in regions of Canterbury and care in the community advice. See for info about vaccinations.

We are at ORANGE according to the NZ COVID-19 Protection Framework

Last updated:
19 April 2022

For visitors to all facilities effective from Tuesday 19 April 2022

With the change to the ORANGE Traffic Light setting, Canterbury DHB is easing its visitor policy in recognition of the fact we have passed the peak of the current Omicron outbreak and case numbers are slowly reducing.

The following visitor restrictions are now in place for all Canterbury DHB hospitals and health facilities:

  • One adult visitor may be accompanied by no more than one child over the age of 12 per patient in the hospital at any given time, except where stated otherwise in the ‘exceptions’ section below.  No children under 12 and those 12 and over must be accompanied by an adult and wear a medical mask.
  • Visitors or support people should not visit our facilities if they are unwell.
  • Surgical/medical masks must be worn at all times at all Canterbury DHB sites and will be provided if people don’t have them.
  • Hand sanitiser stations are visible and must be used.

By adhering to these conditions, 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 (ie more than one visitor) where a trusted whānau member provides 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 – 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 support people, and women on the Maternity Ward are allowed one support person for the duration of their stay in our facilities at Christchurch Womens 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 children are allowed to visit.
  • 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, following a supervised negative RAT result)
  • Children who are inpatients, one other visitor (other than a parent or caregiver) is able to visit in consultation with the nurse in charge.
  • 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.

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.

Face covering exemption cards

The Exemptions Team at the Ministry of Health is now responsible for processing requests for Face Covering Communication Cards.

Updated information about mask wearing, and how to request an exemption card can now be found here. People unable to request an exemption card online can call 0800 28 29 26 and select option 2, or text 8988

Patients and visitors should also read the additional more detailed visiting guidelines for each specific hospital.

More COVID-19 information

More is not always better when it comes to PPE

Wednesday 15 April 2020Canterbury DHB News3 minutes to read


Canterbury DHB is committed to continue to work to make it easy for staff to do the right thing when it comes to the effective use of PPE

Please attribute to Dr Josh Freeman, Clinical Director of Microbiology at Canterbury DHB

What really matters is how PPE is used, what is appropriate for the work being carried out and how comfortable staff feel wearing the various options available to them.

We know that COVID-19 is spread via droplets and contact and a higher level of protection is warranted when staff are carrying out ‘aerosolising procedures’ such as intubation, and non-invasive ventilation.  During these procedures a higher spec mask should be worn such as an N-95 as they filter out aerosols.

Regular surgical masks are recommended by both the World Health Organization and the Ministry of Health for healthcare workers caring for people who are suspected of having or have tested positive to COVID-19.  These masks are have a long track record of effectiveness and are used when caring for patients with a wide range of infectious diseases.

Surgical masks should be removed and replaced with a clean dry mask as soon as they become damp. A damp, soggy surgical mask is not effective, and we know that in a busy and demanding work environment it can be difficult for staff to stop what they are doing and change their PPE, but this is so important.

To encourage safe use of PPE we have increased our efforts to remind staff to change PPE regularly and have a plan to add ‘PPE Champions’ to the teams working in both the isolation ward at Burwood and Rosewood Rest Home to check that PPE is being worn correctly and importantly that it is removed safely to minimise the risk of cross-contamination. 

Canterbury DHB is committed to continue to work to make it easy for staff to do the right thing when it comes to the effective use of PPE.

From today we are offering some alternative PPE options for staff working with the psychogeriatric dementia patients in Burwood – this includes visors for those who want to wear them and  N-95 masks for those who feel more comfortable with the fit of the N-95 mask rather than a surgical mask. For some people, it’s possible the N-95 mask may be less prone to becoming damp but this remains to be seen. Note: the N-95 masks are not needed for clinical reasons as no aerosolising procedures are carried out in that ward.  The visors are an option for those who find goggles uncomfortable.

A question regarding the use of disposable shoe covers and hair covers has been raised. In response: these are not recommended by the World Health Organization or the New Zealand Ministry of Health. One of the reasons for this is that the more elaborate the PPE, and the more different components there are, the greater the risk is of contamination during the doffing (taking off) process.

Evidence shows that during the Ebola outbreak, a common cause of healthcare workers contracting the disease was by self-contamination when removing their PPE, which is why more is not always better.

Canterbury DHB is 100% committed to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of its staff and patients through the effective use of personal protective equipment. It is however important to remember that PPE is one form of protection. Other staff actions are equally important to ensure their own and their patient’s safety, such as regular hand hygiene (the 5 moments), sound environmental cleaning practices and appropriate waste disposal.



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Page last updated: 15 April 2020

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