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

UPDATE: 27 people injured in the mosque attacks remain in Christchurch Hospital

Friday 22 March 2019Media release5 minutes to read

Members of the public have been placing flowers across the hospital campus for the victims

Please attribute comment to David Meates, Chief Executive, Canterbury District Health Board

27 of the people who were injured in Friday’s shootings are still in Christchurch Hospital, with 5 remaining in critical condition in intensive care. Two more have been discharged during the past 24 hours. They are still our priority for specialist care, which for some includes follow-up surgery and other specialist care. Considering that at this time a week ago we were caring for 48 patients, it’s a huge positive that this number has been so significantly reduced, recognising of course that many of those well enough to be discharged over the past week will still need care and support in the community.

A 4 year old girl is still in a critical condition in Starship Hospital in Auckland and her father is in a stable condition in nearby Auckland City Hospital.

As previously, much of our planned surgery for Friday was postponed to free up theatre space and surgical teams. Anyone affected by rescheduling has been contacted individually to let them know and make a new time if possible.

Christchurch Hospital remains very busy and our Emergency Department in particular typically sees an increase in presentations at weekends and this puts additional strain on our staff resources. Please help us focus on providing the best possible care for acutely unwell patients by calling your General Practice team first unless it’s an emergency. You can ring your normal GP team’s number any time of day or night, and after hours a nurse will advise you what to do and where to go if it’s urgent and you need to be seen.

Today has been yet another big day for our New Zealand community and especially for Christchurch. It was very moving to see so much shared grief and compassion as people gathered to show support and respect for our Muslim community at this afternoon’s call to prayer across from the Al Noor Masjid Mosque in Christchurch today. It is the kind of compassionate response we have come to expect from Canterbury people and showed that as New Zealanders we stand together when it counts most. We would like to acknowledge at this time the support we have received from throughout New Zealand and across the world. Thank you all for your kindness and generosity, it’s been hugely appreciated.  

For health workers whose duties wouldn’t allow them to get to the call to prayer, staff at all Canterbury DHB sites were encouraged to observe the two minutes silence instead. That small gesture too was an emotional and cathartic experience for many of us who continue to see first-hand the anguish of the families of the people who have been hurt.

Coping after such a hugely traumatic event isn’t easy. Good mental wellbeing helps us carry on and deal with all that life throws at us. Our body’s reaction to shock is to produce adrenaline, it’s our natural alarm system for making us alert and ready for action.

Afterwards though we can feel shaky, queasy or on-edge, and we may find it harder than usual to concentrate or keep things in their proper perspective. It can also result in strong emotional responses such as anger or crying. This is normal and we can help soften these effects by doing some light physical activity, taking on a small chore or task and by focusing on some calm breathing for 10 seconds. It's also a good idea to take a break from the news and social media so you can focus on other things and the people around you – doing so doesn't make what has happened any less shocking but it can help you calm your nerves. It's also a great idea to make a special effort to connect with friends and loved ones during these tough times.

Specialist Mental Health Services are part of our whole system health response to the mental trauma caused by events that affect our whole community, we still have a presence in the community centre close to the hospital and are responding to the needs of the people using the centre. Other health agencies are transitioning in to the centre and SMHS staff are transitioning out. We are also working closely with local communities and through a number of agencies who are working closely together to meet the needs of those affected by the terrible events of last Friday and there are a range of resources and supports now available. One good place to get up to date information is HealthInfo

HealthInfo is a health information website for the general public, with information and advice specific to Canterbury written by local doctors, practice nurses, hospital clinicians and other healthcare professionals.

The website has a mix of health information, including factsheets on different topics and descriptions of local health services and supports. It also has links to recommended websites for further reading and research.

The HealthInfo information relating to the terror attack is being updated regularly and includes a broad range of information including income support.

Another useful website is Victim Support Coping after the Christchurch mosques terrorist attacks   

Please check these sites regularly for updates.

Additional Information:

Anyone who needs additional support can call or text 1737 to speak with a trained counsellor. This service is free of charge and is available day and night. People can also visit the All right? website which is constantly being updated with best practice wellbeing advice.

There are also resources available online:

If you want to talk to a trained counsellor, you can phone or text 1737 to be put through to a counsellor any time of the day or night. This is a free service for everyone.

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Page last updated: 22 March 2019

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