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

Surgical masks introduced for all DHB staff and visitors

Sunday 23 January 2022Media 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.

Important Omicron Update

Important Omicron Update – all hospital visitors need to wear a paper surgical/medical mask.

Under the RED setting, it’s business as usual with surgery and outpatient appointments going ahead, and only minor changes expected for visiting hours – these will be finalised tomorrow and posted on Canterbury DHB’s website.

Senior Responsible Officer for COVID-19 in Canterbury, Dr Helen Skinner, said while there’s no cases of Omicron in the community, the key change for anyone entering any DHB facility tomorrow will be the need to wear a paper surgical/medical mask.

“We know these paper masks are more effective than a fabric mask or cloth face covering, and this is something we can all do to help protect our vulnerable patients and ourselves.

“We ask that people pay particular attention to physical distancing as well. In practice that means staying at least one metre away from anyone not in your household,” Dr Skinner said.

Canterbury DHB is also advising all its staff (clinical and non-clinical) to wear surgical masks, with N-95s for clinical staff in certain areas.

Boosters are key to provide maximum protection

If it’s four or more months since you had your second dose, please prioritise getting a booster as soon as possible. Boosters provide a significantly higher level of protection than two doses alone. People aged over 60 who have had their booster are around 45 times less likely to be hospitalised than an unvaccinated person of the same age.  

You can book at www.BookMyVaccine.nz Many clinics are taking walk-ins, please note that demand is high and there may be a wait. Local clinic information, including opening hours is available at www.VaccinateCanterburyWestCoast.nz

Vaccinations are now available for children aged five  and over at selected clinics – these are outlined at www.VaccinateCanterburyWestCoast.nz

While we have no cases of Omicron in Canterbury at present we need to stick to the rules: wearing a mask every time you go out and are with people outside your own household; keeping track of where you’ve been using the QR codes provided and having Bluetooth turned on, so you receive alerts, and using your MyVaccinePass when required. 

For more information about what to do at Red, the Unite against COVID-19 (covid19.govt.nz) website has useful information on being prepared to self-isolate at home if someone in your household tests positive.

“Now’s the time to make a plan, make sure everyone knows it, and ensure you have everything you need at home to be self-sufficient for at least a couple of weeks,” Dr Skinner said. “And please check in with your neighbours, people who live alone and those with disabilities to see how they are doing.

“It’s important to remember that with Omicron, most people who are fully vaccinated (two doses + a booster) will have a mild illness and be able to recover safely at home. Our focus will be on supporting those who are more vulnerable and have underlying health conditions.

The planning checklist every household should complete can be found here and the Canterbury Care in the Community web pages provide useful information and advice on what to consider when isolating at home with COVID-19.

ENDS

Tips for wearing a surgical/paper mask:

Do

  • Wash or sanitise your hands before handling your mask
  • Hold the mask by the straps
  • Fan it out to cover the mouth, chin and nose
  • Disposable surgical masks are worn with the blue/coloured side facing outwards
  • Ensure the stiff strip is at the top and moulds comfortably over the bridge of your nose
  • Securely hook the elastic straps directly over your ears – do not create a figure eight with the straps as this creates air gaps.

 Don’t

Play

  • with, or touch your mask unnecessarily
  • Let anyone else touch or wear your mask
  • Leave your mask lying around or on a table

Change your mask

  • If it becomes moist or soiled
  • After eating
  • Used and soiled surgical masks should be disposed of in the regular (landfill) rubbish bin after cutting the elastic straps.

 

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Page last updated: 17 February 2022

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