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

Kiwi pre-schoolers losing teeth to painful, preventable tooth decay

Tuesday 28 July 2020Media release4 minutes to read

Health News

A nationwide study was released today evaluating the link between community water fluoridation and the experience of severe tooth decay in four-year-old New Zealand children

Kiwi kids are suffering unnecessarily from severe tooth decay that could be prevented, according to research published today in JAMA Paediatrics, the highest-ranking journal of Paediatrics, Perinatology and Child Health in the world.

The nation-wide study, evaluating the link between community water fluoridation and the experience of severe tooth decay in four-year-old New Zealand children, analysed the B4 School Check screening programme data of 275,000 children over a five-year period from 2011 to 2016.

The findings show children who didn’t have a fluoridated water supply were 20% more likely to have severe tooth decay.

“Modern dentistry can only do so much to tackle this issue and by the time children receive dental care it’s often too late to save their baby teeth, which then affects the development of adult teeth,” says Dr Martin Lee, Canterbury’s Community Dental Service Clinical Director. “Community water fluoridation is the safest and most cost-effective preventative strategy we have to protect the teeth of all Kiwi kids, and the teeth of all New Zealanders generally.”

Nearly one in seven (15%) of four-year-olds who had had a B4 School Check were found to be severely affected by tooth decay. While the rates of severe decay were much higher for Māori and Pacific children and children living in deprived areas, no-one was immune – 7% of NZ/European children and children living in the least deprived areas had severe tooth decay.

Four-year-olds with severe decay frequently need a general anaesthetic for their dental treatment and many of those on hospital waiting lists have chronic toothache and abscesses.

New Zealand has a long-term national policy supporting community water fluoridation, yet only 54% of the population currently receives it. A Bill proposing moving responsibility for this from Councils to District Health Boards, introduced in 2016, has not been progressed since a health select committee report in 2017.

Lead author of the study, Philip Schluter, Professor of Population Health at the University of Canterbury (UC), says the burden on the dental health of Kiwi kids is not shared equally across the country.

“The research shows the current lack of widespread community water fluoridation disproportionately affects children living in the most deprived areas, with Māori and Pacific children more likely to experience worse oral health than pakeha, even after accounting for key sociodemographic factors,” says Professor Schluter.

“We hope that the real-world evidence provided in this research will be used in evidence-based policy-making to combat the woeful oral health burdens and neglect carried unnecessarily by so many children in New Zealand.”

The research was undertaken by a team of legal, public health, dental, water quality, and geospatial specialists: Professor Philip Schluter, University of Canterbury (Population Health expert); Dr Martin Lee (Canterbury’s Community Dental Service Clinical Director); Helen Atkins (Director of Atkins Holm Majurey, New Zealand’s leading specialist environmental law firm; and President-elect, Water New Zealand); Mr Barry Mattingley (Senior Scientist in drinking water quality at ESR, a New Zealand Crown Research Institute); and Dr Matthew Hobbs, University of Canterbury (Senior Lecturer in Public Health with specialist geospatial expertise).

Key points/findings

  • Study of 275,000 Kiwi children over a five-year period (2011–2016) found:
    • Children in areas without a fluoridated water supply were 20% more likely to have severe tooth decay
    • Māori and Pacific children living in the most deprived areas were 8 and 12 times (respectively) to have severe tooth decay
    • 7% of NZ/European children and children living in the least deprived areas had severe tooth decay
    • Nearly one in seven (15%) of four-year-olds who had had a B4 School Check were found to be severely affected by tooth decay.
  • New Zealand has a long-term national policy supporting community water fluoridation, yet only 54% of the population receives it.
  • A Bill proposing moving responsibility for community water fluoridation from Councils to District Health Boards, introduced in 2016, has not been progressed since a health select committee report in 2017.

ENDS

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Page last updated: 28 July 2020

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