All hospital visitors are recommended to wear a medical face mask. Expand this message for information about visiting hospital.

Last updated:
13 March 2023

Some visitor restrictions for all Te Whatu Ora Waitaha Canterbury hospitals and health facilities remain in place, but we have relaxed others.

There is still a heightened risk to vulnerable people in hospital and so we recommend all people wear a mask when visiting any of our facilities and follow other advice designed to keep patients, staff and  visitors safe.

To keep everybody safe:

  • Visitors or support people must not visit our facilities if they are unwell. Do not visit if you have recently tested positive for COVID-19 and haven’t completed your isolation period.
  • Patients may have more than one visitor, except in some situations such as multi-bed rooms where it can cause overcrowding.
  • Surgical/medical masks are recommended to be worn at all sites. Masks will be provided if you don’t have one.
  • For Specialist Mental Health Services everyone is strongly encouraged to wear a face mask in all inpatient areas and areas where consumers are receiving care (i.e. community appointments, home-visits, transporting people). Discretion may be applied in cases where masks impair your ability to communicate effectively.
  • Visitors must not eat or drink in multibed rooms because of the increased risk when multiple people remove their face mask in the same space.
  • Hand sanitiser is available and must be used.

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.

Visiting patients with COVID-19

  • People can visit patients who have COVID-19 but they must wear an N95 mask – this will be provided if you don’t have one.
  • Other methods of communication will be facilitated e.g. phone, Facetime, Zoom, WhatsApp etc where visits aren’t possible.

All of our Hospitals

Visiting hours for our hospitals have returned to pre COVID-19 hours with the exception of Christchurch Women’s Hospital.

All visitors are recommended to wear a medical face mask.

Parents/caregivers are able to be with their child in hospital and visitors are now allowed, except for the Children’s Haematology and Oncology Day stay where just one parent/caregiver is able to attend their appointment with their child. Exceptions by special arrangement only.

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

More COVID-19 information

Shorter stays and happier staff with Cortex app

Thursday 24 May 2018Media 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.
A nurse using Cortex in Christchurch Hospital.

A nurse using Cortex in Christchurch Hospital.

Christchurch Hospital staff are calling for wider use of a “phenomenal” app that reduces hassle and shortens patient stays.

Cortex is an app for iPhones and iPads that digitises patient notes and makes them instantly available to all medical staff in a patient's care team.

In mid-2017, three wards ran a three-month pilot of the app, which was used by nurses, doctors and hospital pharmacy as well as allied health professionals.

“At the end of our 12 week trial we weren't willing to give it back,” says Clinical Nurse Specialist Stacey Simpson.

“General Surgery was given permission to continue using it because I think they would have had a revolt if they'd tried to take it off us.”

The app allows health professionals to “subscribe” to a patient they are looking after.

That gives them access to a timeline of information including clinical notes and tasks that need to be completed.

Under the old system, Stacey says, doctors on medical rounds would write observations onto stickers, which they would later stick to a patient's clinical notes.

“They'd complete them, but they were sometimes hard to read and easy to lose.

“It could sometimes be five or six hours before these stickers would be applied to the notes. So if a nurse had not been on the ward round with the doctors, it was literally the patients telling us what the doctors had said.”

With Cortex, doctors add the notes to the app as they do rounds, save them, and sign them off so other staff can access them immediately. That means nurses doing their 10am board round can see new notes instead of relying on old information.

A board round is where the care team gathers round an electronic whiteboard on the ward each morning to discuss and exchange information on each patient to ensure they get the right care.

Physical notes are usually stored in one place, but they can go wandering with another health professionals who is using them, or if the patient is taken to another ward.

“For nurses particularly, and for allied health, everybody now has visibility of the electronic notes so you don't have to go and find the physical ones,” Stacey says.

“The whole closed-communication loop is just phenomenal. I mean, the amount of time it saves nurses and increases patient confidence day-to-day is a huge benefit.”

The app also reduces competition for shared computers in busy wards.

Charge Nurse Manager Jessica Carey says the standard method of sending a task to a house surgeon used to involve paging them. This meant waiting by the phone until the doctor could call back, often causing the doctor to leave a ward round to go to a phone.

“Now I can delegate a task to a house surgeon on Cortex. The house surgeon then accepts my task, and I can see when they have,” she says.

“If they were in clinic for the next two hours they can add a comment so I know the likely time frame for a response.”

A busy house surgeon could even delegate the task to someone else who was free to pick it up, Jessica says.

“I don't have to wander back and forth to a paper note every half hour to see if something has been done.”

According to Canterbury District Health Board data, the average length of stay decreased by 20 percent and readmission decreased by 12.5 percent in the wards where the app was trialled.

Dr Chris Rumball, clinical lead for the app's developer Sense Medical, says the reductions were entirely down to the use of Cortex.

He says patients are happy to get out of hospital quicker, and shorter stays mean lower risk of infection.

“The sooner you're in and out of hospital, generally the better off you are.”

Shorter stays also reduce demand for beds, which Dr Rumball says is a big issue coming into winter when more people are sick.

“This has enormous implications for reduced costs and better planning.”

The official plan for Cortex is to deploy it throughout Canterbury DHB's new Acute Services Building so that staff are trained and practiced in its use before the new facility comes on line.

Dr Rumball says Sense Medical also has bigger plans for the app.

“There are many areas, both in the hospital and the community, where bringing a multidisciplinary team closer together will improve the quality of patient care” he says.

“There's plenty of interest from other DHBs and community health organisations, and we're starting to look at Australia.”

Cortex has been co-developed by Sense Medical as part of the Canterbury Health System's focus on using technology to improve healthcare for patients and staff.



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Page last updated: 19 October 2022

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