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

Canterbury and West Coast DHBs planning for the 10/11 August MERAS midwives’ strikes

Monday 9 August 2021Te Whatu Ora Waitaha Canterbury News3 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.
MERAS strike

Canterbury and West Coast DHBs planning for the 10/11 August MERAS midwives’ strikes

Canterbury and West Coast DHBs are implementing contingency plans for a planned eight-hour strike by midwife members of the MERAS union.

The dates and times of the planned strikes are as follows:

  • Tuesday 10 August, 11 am to 7 pm on the West Coast, and
  • Wednesday 11 August, 11 am to 7 pm in Canterbury

MERAS members include many of the midwives employed by DHBs. Lead Maternity Carers (LMCs) or midwife members of other unions will not take part in the strike action.

Dr Peter Bramley, Chief Executive for both DHBs says the DHBs’ number one priority is the continued safety of women and babies.

“Our contingency plans will reduce the demand on the staff who will be working on those days, while ensuring we can continue to provide safe care and support to women giving birth or recovering during the strike period.”

No elective caesareans have been scheduled for during the strike. Emergency caesareans and other birthing-related procedures that are clinically indicated will still go ahead.

“We encourage women expecting to give birth or be in Christchurch Women’s Hospital during the strikes to talk to their LMC for reassurance and unless advised otherwise, they should stick to their birth plan. We are in the process of contacting all women likely to be affected by the strike action to let them know that they will still receive the best and safest care we can offer, and to reschedule any clinic appointments that need to be postponed.

The DHBs have an agreement in place with the union to ensure patients receive safe and appropriate care during the strike period. Both DHBs acknowledge the work MERAS and their members do to support patient safety by providing Life-Preserving Services (LPS) during the strike.

“We apologise in advance for the disruption and for any distress this industrial action will cause, while respecting people’s right to strike and the valued role these key staff play as part of our health system,” Dr Bramley says.

People should access urgent and emergency care as they normally would, and other non-maternity acute care services will remain available throughout the period of the planned strikes.

ENDS

Additional info

  • For anything unrelated to maternity Canterbury people can continue to call their General Practice team 24/7 as their first point of call for Care Around the Clock. Coasters should call their usual general practice. After hours they should follow the instructions to be put through to a nurse who can provide health advice. Anyone not enrolled with a GP on the Coast can call Healthline on 0800 611 116
  • Emergency and urgent care will be available throughout and people should access these services as they normally would.
  • Canterbury community birthing units will continue to be open for women in labour, however, post-birth transfers on the day before or on the day of the strike will be limited.
  • St George’s primary birthing unit is unaffected and will remain available throughout the strike period for primary birthing and postnatal care (women who are booked to give birth there will have priority). Transfers to St George’s from Christchurch Women’s Hospital will be by exception as clinically-indicated, and on a case-by-case basis.
  • Christchurch Women’s Hospital will be open, though with reduced staffing. We are working with MERAS to ensure there will be sufficient, suitably-skilled staff cover to ensure women and babies receive safe appropriate and care

Further enquiries, please email communications@cdhb.health.nz in the first instance.  

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Page last updated: 6 October 2021

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