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 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

Volunteers provide ‘priceless’ support in Christchurch hospitals

Tuesday 19 June 2018Media release3 minutes to read

Hospitals in Christchurch rely on the help of hundreds of volunteers to assist patients, visitors and staff, and raise much-needed funds.

Canterbury DHB rural facilities also have “friends” of the hospital organisations, such as the Friends of Ashburton Hospital, and Tuarangi group which has been running for 42 years.

These groups give their time and skills to help staff, fundraise, and provide thoughtful donations to provide extra treats and care for patients.

The Friends of Oxford Hospital committee recently ran a fundraiser at the Oxford A&P Show for a future-proofed helipad for Christchurch Hospital as part of Māia Health Foundation's 13 Minutes campaign.

Over 200 people volunteer at Christchurch Hospital. Volunteers run the gift shop and trolley, help patients and visitors with other tasks such as calling taxis and reading, give company to patients, help people find their way around the hospital, and undertake many other tasks.

“The wayfinders are the smiley, happy face at the front of the hospital,” says Christchurch Hospital Coordinator of Volunteers Louise Hoban-Watson.

“We have such a wide range of volunteers and they all come here for different reasons. And we're just so fortunate to have them.”

Louise says volunteer donations and work often fly under the radar.

“People don't realise that the chair they're sitting on, or the fish tank, or TV and art work were funded by the volunteers. A lot of people think that it's just all paid for by the DHB.”

Since 1999, Christchurch Hospital Volunteers has made donations worth a total of around $2 million to Christchurch hospital, including grants for staff training and conferences. More information about fundraisers and what funds are used for can be found on the Christchurch Hospital Volunteers Facebook page.

Burwood Hospital Coordinator of Volunteers Rachael Walker says around 120 people volunteer at the hospital.

“Without all the time and energy that the volunteers put in, we wouldn't be able to run the programs that we do.”

Burwood volunteers serve in the Gift Shop, help maintain the gardens and pool, run the library trolley, give computer tutoring, provide pet therapy with their dogs, and more.

Most volunteers are retired, Rachael says, and give a few hours of their time each week.

“We've just got a new piano in the foyer, so we've also got some young people who come in and play the piano for us to make it a welcoming environment.”

Money raised by Burwood volunteers goes toward patient comfort and, beginning later this month, staff training.

Canterbury DHB Chief Executive David Meates says the hospitals are better places because of volunteers.

“It's National Volunteer Week, which is an opportunity for us to recognise the enormous help Canterbury DHB gets from volunteers, and thank them for that.

“The time that people donate to supporting our patients and staff is priceless.”



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Page last updated: 3 October 2018

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