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: Christchurch Hospital staff caring for 29 people injured in terror attack

Wednesday 20 March 2019Media release4 minutes to read

Canterbury DHB Chief Executive, David Meates addressing media with an update on the patients in the DHB's care

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

29 people who were injured in the mosque attacks are still in Christchurch Hospital. Two have been well enough to go home since our last media bulletin on Monday afternoon, and they are being supported by family and friends. The Canterbury Health System provides wrap around care for people returning to the community after a hospital stay.

There are still 8 people in a critical condition in intensive care. The 4 year old girl is still in a critical condition in Starship Hospital in Auckland. Her father is near her in Auckland City Hospital and his condition has improved so that he is no longer considered serious, and is now stable.

People injured in the mosque attacks are still our priority for surgery and other specialist care but we are also planning ongoing wellbeing and other support for them and their families, for the Muslim community in particular and for the wider community.

As yesterday and over the weekend, we are gearing all available theatres to follow-up acute surgery, which means we will be continuing to postpone planned surgeries for some time to come in order to free up theatre space and surgical teams. We apologise to anyone who may have their surgery postponed, but know they will understand the extraordinary circumstances.

Christchurch Hospital is busier than ever, but with many services operating as normally as possible. Most appointments at Christchurch Outpatients are going ahead as planned. If your appointment has to be postponed, we will contact you directly. We are prioritising the time of the clinicians needed to care for those injured in last Friday’s attack.

We understand that this tragedy is of huge interest to the international community and we greatly appreciate their kind thoughts and expressions of sorrow at this time, but members of the media are asked to respect the privacy of those hurt in the attacks and give them the time and space to grieve with their families and friends, with the support and love of all the people of New Zealand.

As the events of the past few days sink in, it’s important we continue to support one another and look out for those we love more than ever. It is likely that many of us may continue to be on edge and upset periodically for some time to come. This is perfectly normal, and we need to be generous with one another and forgiving, and patient if someone is snappy, emotional or not their usual self.

This advice comes from the Mental Health Foundation and the All right? team. Their messages are based on best-practice wellbeing promotion evidence, and apply to all situations where people are struggling.

There are small things we can do to look after ourselves and others, even when times are tough.

  • Be kind to one another. Kindness is contagious, and boosts endorphins (feel-good hormones) for both the giver and the receiver
  • Take a digital detox, and focus on an activity you love. Reading, games with the kids, or a short walk – getting out into nature is very healing.
  • Spend time with people you love – we all need each other. Talk about how you’re feeling, and take the time to listen to others who want to talk
  • Focus on the things you can control.

Supporting our kids and whānau

  • Children take their cues from parents — so if you’re okay, they’ll be okay too
  • Be mindful how much ‘worry’ you’re displaying, be as cool as you can!
  • Keep children away from more sensational media reports about the Christchurch shootings, but share things that are about the love people show such as the wall of flowers
  • Answer their questions pretty matter-of-factly and in very ‘general’ terms. You don’t have to get the answers exactly right here. Ensure you talk too about the great job the Police do in keeping us safe.
    Keep the reassurance low key too — over-reassuring can make us think we need to be worrying more than we are!
  • Let them talk about it, but don’t let it ‘take over’ – use distraction to keep their mind off it
  • Stick to your normal routines as much as you can.

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: 21 March 2019

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