Hospital visitors don’t need a Vaccine Pass, but must wear a surgical/medical paper mask. Fabric face coverings are no longer acceptable. See our COVID-19 pages for visiting guidelines, COVID-19 tests current case numbers in regions of Canterbury and care in the community advice. See for info about vaccinations.

We are at ORANGE according to the NZ COVID-19 Protection Framework

Last updated:
19 April 2022

For visitors to all facilities effective from Tuesday 19 April 2022

With the change to the ORANGE Traffic Light setting, Canterbury DHB is easing its visitor policy in recognition of the fact we have passed the peak of the current Omicron outbreak and case numbers are slowly reducing.

The following visitor restrictions are now in place for all Canterbury DHB hospitals and health facilities:

  • One adult visitor may be accompanied by no more than one child over the age of 12 per patient in the hospital at any given time, except where stated otherwise in the ‘exceptions’ section below.  No children under 12 and those 12 and over must be accompanied by an adult and wear a medical mask.
  • Visitors or support people should not visit our facilities if they are unwell.
  • Surgical/medical masks must be worn at all times at all Canterbury DHB sites and will be provided if people don’t have them.
  • Hand sanitiser stations are visible and must be used.

By adhering to these conditions, 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 (ie more than one visitor) where a trusted whānau member provides 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 – 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 support people, and women on the Maternity Ward are allowed one support person for the duration of their stay in our facilities at Christchurch Womens Hospital. Only one support person can be with each woman in the maternity ward, and one support person for maternity clinic appointments, no children are allowed to visit.
  • 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, following a supervised negative RAT result)
  • Children who are inpatients, one other visitor (other than a parent or caregiver) is able to visit in consultation with the nurse in charge.
  • 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.

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.

Face covering exemption cards

The Exemptions Team at the Ministry of Health is now responsible for processing requests for Face Covering Communication Cards.

Updated information about mask wearing, and how to request an exemption card can now be found here. People unable to request an exemption card online can call 0800 28 29 26 and select option 2, or text 8988

Patients and visitors should also read the additional more detailed visiting guidelines for each specific hospital.

More COVID-19 information

Getting ready – Being prepared – Disability Supplement

Does your household include a disabled person or someone with a long term health condition? 

Te toia, te haumatia – Nothing can be achieved without a plan and a way of doing things

The Ministry of Health has prepared advice and a checklist to assist households to plan for Covid-19 in the community.

Canterbury DHB has developed additional advice, based on lived experience of disabled people.  We encourage you to

  • record relevant information in one place
  • stock up on necessary supplies and
  • make those connections with people who can support you, and you can support
  • make contact with care agencies, especially those who come to your home, and have their emergency contact details.

If someone in your household tests positive for COVID-19, everyone you live with will need to stay home.  You will receive a package of supplies, instructions, and a health diary.

You need to be ready to provide a lot of information when asked so you can continue to receive the essential care and supports you usually receive at home. It will also enable them to monitor you and provide COVID-19 related care if needed.  

We recommend that you start with the standard advice to be found at Be prepared for COVID-19, and stay safe.  Then add any other information which applies to your household, as described below:

Collect in one easily accessible place, information on:

Who is in your household? For each member record their

  1. Name
  2. NHI number
  3. Address
  4. Email addresse/s
  5. Age
  6. Date of Birth
  7. Phone number/s
  8. Medical conditions and disabilities
  9. Allergies
  10. Medicines
  11. Communication needs eg language/NZSL/relay/large print information/please text
  12. Employer/workplace/school contact details
  13. Next of kin/guardian/emergency contact details

Now write down the usual care and support arrangements for each member of your household, including contact and other details (for support purposes)

  1. Name of GP and other Doctors
  2. Chemist/pharmacy
  3. Medical supply/consumables provider/s, how, what and when this is supplied
  4. Care and support agencies and what services they provide to your household
  5. Who funds this care and support? Ministry of Health Disability Support Services (DSS)? DHB? IF? ACC? Other?
  6. Upcoming medical and other appointments – who will check of these are going ahead, or are postponed or modified eg via phone
  7. Care and support workers employed to who come to your home (either employed by an agency or under Individualised Funding IF)
  8. Cultural and/or church affiliations
  9. Mental health clinical care and support
  10. Mobility and other equipment suppliers
  11. Meals on Wheels
  12. Lifelinks contact

What if a disabled person needs to go to hospital?

Be prepared to give ambulance or medical staff the information they need to know immediately that will help keep the disabled person safe, move them safely, and enable medical staff to communicate with them effectively.

Make a list now, or pack a ‘going to hospital supplies’ kit. Will you need to bring hearing aids, glasses, a wheelchair or mobility aid, or a communication device?

Make a list of contact details for everyone who would need to know the person is going/has gone to hospital.

Identify any questions you need to ask if someone is admitted to hospital, for example

  • How will communication needs be met?
  • Will there be an alternating air mattress (to prevent pressure injuries developing in someone with limited mobility)?
  • What are the visiting/support rules for your situation? Restricted visiting is likely to be in place to help prevent COVID-19 spreading to vulnerable patients.
  • Will the person’s usual clinicians be involved in their care?

Write down household instructions like caring for pets, plants and paying bills for someone else to follow.

What if a household member needs to go to hospital?

Make sure to explain the care arrangements in your household when asked - that is, who cares for whom.  If a disabled person relies on someone who can no longer care for them, make this concern known.

General advice

  • Have an extra copy of any service plans to provide on request, and be ready to send via email.
  • Check and replenish usual medications and medical supplies – have extras, especially prescription medications that you might not be able to obtain easily if you run out.
  • Check and replenish PPE. This is available from care and support agencies, who obtain it from the Ministry of Health.
  • Find out about pulse oximeters and Rapid Antigen Testing. If needed, you will be given these, along with instructions on how to use. There is a good pulse oximeter video at
  • Take the initiative: Ask questions and express concerns – to your GP, your home care agency or anyone else who supports you.
  • Speak up if existing or promised services are not provided as needed.

Page last updated: 23 May 2022

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