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

Contingency plans in place for NZNO strike at Canterbury & West Coast DHBs

Monday 7 June 2021Te Whatu Ora Waitaha Canterbury News3 minutes to read

Nurses, midwives and  healthcare workers’ strike,  June 9, 2021

Nurses, midwives and healthcare workers’ strike, June 9, 2021

Following confirmation today that the New Zealand Nurses’ Organisation (NZNO) strike will go ahead as planned from 11am to 7pm on Wednesday 9 June, both Canterbury and West Coast DHBs have contingency plans in place to ensure the public can still access the care they need.

Acting Chief Executive for Canterbury and West Coast DHBs, Becky Hickmott says the number one consideration, as always, is patient safety, and acknowledges that NZNO also supports patient safety by providing Life Preserving Services (LPS)* during the strike.

“Urgent and emergency care will remain available throughout the period of the planned strike. This includes the Emergency Department, acute (unplanned) surgery, all intensive care units, cancer care and the Renal Dialysis unit.

“111 calls will be responded to as usual and people should access urgent and emergency care as they normally would, but expect things to be busy,” says Ms Hickmott.

“There are close to 5000 nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants at Canterbury and West Coast DHBs, so the strikes are expected to cause significant disruption to non-urgent services in both regions.

“We apologise in advance for the disruption this strike will cause but we respect NZNO members’ right to take industrial action and acknowledge that these key staff have a valued role as part of our health system,” Ms Hickmott says.

NZNO members who will be striking on Wednesday include nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants.

“We have put a number of measures in place to ensure we can continue to provide urgent and emergency care during the strikes. Our contingency plans include rescheduling non-urgent and planned care to reduce the demand on staff who will be working during the 8 hour strike.

“We are in the process of contacting people whose surgery or outpatient appointment will need to be deferred. If you haven’t heard from us, you can assume your care will go ahead as planned. If you want to check, call the number on your outpatient appointment or surgery letter. “Urgent procedures and surgery will be prioritised during the planned strike period.

“Our aim is to ensure those working during that period are available to care for patients with high and complex needs, as well as those needing emergency care,” Ms Hickmott says.

Useful numbers for contacting health services on the West Coast can be found here:

www.wcdhb.health.nz/your-health/find-and-enrol-at-a-health-center/

Phone numbers for Canterbury Hospitals and Health Centres can be found here:

www.cdhb.health.nz/hospitals-health-facilities/

ENDS

*What are Life Preserving services (LPS)?

Life Preserving Services (LPS) are the staffing levels and agreed essential tasks that ensure people in our care will be safe. LPS is provided on a voluntary basis, but because the union is responsible for providing LPS, staff who agree to cover LPS duties are enabling their NZNO colleagues to strike.

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Page last updated: 10 June 2021

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