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.
Looking after yourself isn’t something you need to do alone – there are several organisations who can support you and advocate on your behalf.
Christchurch Resettlement Service – CRS exists to support people from refugee and migrant backgrounds living in Christchurch to settle successfully in New Zealand by providing a range of professional services that build on strengths to promote wellbeing and resilience. (they have a PDF resource with contacts)
Purapura Whetu – a Māori Health and social service provider. Their Muslim Wellbeing Team offer a whānau centred approach to community support work for people of all ages
Victim Support – provides people affected by the Christchurch mosque attacks with access to professional counselling, funded by Victim Support.
Supporting Families in Mental Illness runs support groups that offer a safe place for you to meet others who are on the same journey. It offers free, caring, professional, and confidential services in Christchurch and Canterbury (from Kaikoura to the Rangitata River).
Mental Health Foundation has a directory for Canterbury support groups, including bereaved parents and mothers navigating parenthood or suffering from anxiety disorders.
Human Rights Commission – offers a free, informal enquiries and complaints service to deal with unlawful discrimination and racial and sexual harassment issues. If you think you have faced unlawful discrimination, you can make a complaint to the Human Rights Commission.
Office of Ethnic Communities wants to ensure ethnic communities are strong and connected. They provide information, advice and services to, and for, ethnic communities in New Zealand and administer funds to support community development and social cohesion.