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

National Bowel Screening Programme comes to Canterbury

Wednesday 28 October 2020Media release4 minutes to read

Kahurangi (Dame) Aroha Reriti-Crofts, Ngāi Tūāhuriri, Ngāi Tahu says if you are 60-74, look out for your free bowel screening test kit in the mail – and do the test.

Kahurangi (Dame) Aroha Reriti-Crofts, Ngāi Tūāhuriri, Ngāi Tahu says if you are 60-74, look out for your free bowel screening test kit in the mail – and do the test.

The National Bowel Screening Programme went live in the Canterbury DHB region on Thursday 29 October. Free bowel screening kits aimed at saving lives are being sent to the homes of Canterbury people aged 60 to 74 from mid-November. 

People receiving the kits are being asked to use the test, complete the consent form, seal the tube and mail it using the pre-paid packaging provided.

In Canterbury 90,000 people will be eligible to take part during the first two years of the programme. 

Dr Andrew Brant, Acting Chief Executive, Canterbury DHB says this is fantastic news.

“We anticipate that investigations prompted by returned tests will enable us to treat around 1000 pre-cancerous growths and 100 or so cancers in the first year. Finding and removing them at an early stage will dramatically increase people’s chance of a successful outcome.

“Screening is so important because many people would otherwise be completely unaware there might be a problem. For some people, returning their test sample could quite literally be a life-saver,” Dr Brant says.

Under the programme, those in the 60-74 age group with a birthday on an even date (2, 4, 6 etc – of the month) will receive a test kit on or near their birthday. People with odd-date birthdays will receive their test kit during the second year of the programme.

The test kit itself is about the size of a large USB stick, is easy to use and accompanied by clear instructions. It is designed to pick up tiny traces of blood in your faeces (poo) and to catch cancers before they become advanced and more difficult to treat.

Local GP and Canterbury NBSP Primary Care Lead Dr Sue Levin says it’s important to be clear that anyone with concerning symptoms such as sustained, unusual bowel movements or blood in their faeces (poo), whatever their age, should seek advice from their General Practice team.

“Whānau and friends also have an important part to play – in supporting and encouraging people to participate in the programme.

“For some people, bowel motions are a topic they find difficult to discuss.  That’s why we need people who know them, to ask if they’ve received their kit and encourage them to use the test and return their sample straight away.

“Our Canterbury Health System is very focused on ensuring those who are most at risk receive the right information, so we’ll be targeting mature members of our community and in particular our priority groups who are Māori, Pacific Peoples and people living in areas of high deprivation,” says Dr Levin.

What now?

  1. If you are 60–74 years old, look out for the kit. When you receive it, use it, complete the consent form, attach the unique label that identifies the sample as yours and post it back straight away.
    Put simply – this little kit could save your life.
  2. If you aren’t 60–74, tell the whānau about the National Bowel Screening Programme and encourage anyone you know in that age range to look out for their kit and to use and return it straight away – this little kit could save their life too.
  3. If, at any age, you have worrying signs or symptoms such as blood in your faeces or unusual bowel movements that continue for weeks – don’t wait for a kit – make an appointment to see your GP team or health provider immediately. Acting now could save your life.

ENDS

Additional information:

  • New Zealand has one of the highest rates of bowel cancer in the world and 1200 people die from this disease each year. It is the second most common cause of death from cancer.
  • The disease typically affects older people, which is why the programme is aimed at people aged 60-74. The National Bowel Screening programme is now being implemented in most DHBs and should be nationwide by the end of 2021.
  • Since it began in New Zealand just over three years ago, the programme has screened more than quarter of a million people and detected more than 700 cancers early enough for successful treatment in 90 percent of cases.
  • You can reduce your risk of developing bowel cancer by having a healthy diet high in fruit, vegetables and fibre, by exercising regularly, by not smoking and by maintaining a healthy body weight.

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Page last updated: 19 January 2021

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