Hospital visiting guidelines updated 16 September 2022: Hospital visitors must wear a surgical/medical paper mask. Fabric face coverings are not acceptable.  See our COVID-19 page for general COVID-19 advice, detailed hospital visiting guidelines and COVID-19 tests.

See for info on vaccinations.

Last updated:
16 September 2022

Fewer visitor restrictions now apply

For visitors to all facilities effective from 16 September 2022

Some visitor restrictions for all Te Whatu Ora Te Tai o Poutini West Coast health facilities remain in place, but we have relaxed others.

There is still a heightened risk to vulnerable people in hospital and so people must continue to wear a mask when visiting any of our facilities and follow other advice designed to keep patients, staff and other visitors safe.

Kia whakahaumaru te whānau, me ngā iwi katoa – this is to keep everybody safe:

  • Visitors or support people must not visit our facilities if they are unwell. Do not visit if you have recently tested positive for COVID-19 and haven’t completed your isolation period.
  • Patients in single rooms may have more than one visitor while patients in multi-bed rooms can have one visitor only per patient to ensure there is no overcrowding.
  • People can have one or two support people to accompany them to outpatients appointments.
  • Women in labour in a birthing suite, in Te Nīkau Hospital’s Maternity Ward and in Buller’s Kawatiri Maternity Unit can have the usual support people, subject to space, for the duration of their stay in our facilities.
  • Eating or drinking at the bedside is at the discretion of the Clinical Nurse Manager. Visitors must not eat or drink in multibed rooms because of the increased risk when multiple people remove their mask in the same space.
  • Hand sanitiser is available and must be used.

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.

Mask wearing

  • Surgical/medical masks must be worn at all sites, except in counselling, mental health and addiction services where it’s on a case-by-case agreement with patients. Masks will be provided if you don’t have one. In higher-risk environments, people, including young children, may not be able to visit if they cannot wear a mask.
  • 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.

Visiting patients with COVID-19

  • People are able to visit patients who have COVID-19 but they must wear an N95 mask – this will be provided if you don’t have one.
  • Other methods of communication will be facilitated e.g. phone, Facetime, Zoom, WhatsApp etc where visits aren’t possible.

You must NOT visit our facilities if you

  • are COVID-19 positive
  • are unwell. Please stay home if you have a tummy bug or cold or flu/COVID-19-like symptoms (even if you’ve tested negative for COVID-19).

Te Whatu Ora West Coast Aged Residential Care facilities

Visitors are welcome at our Aged Care Residential facilities, subject to the space available. All visitors must wear a surgical mask.

More COVID-19 information

Serious Adverse Events

All DHBs across the country are required to report annually on serious and sentinel adverse events. A serious adverse event is one that requires significant additional treatment, but is not life threatening and has not resulted in a major loss of function. A sentinel adverse event is life threatening or had led to an unanticipated death or major loss of function.
Standardised, consistent systems for classifying and recording adverse events are essential to this process. The Health Quality & Safety Commission is leading this standardisation work in New Zealand.

More information can be found on the Health Quality & Safety Commission New Zealand's ‘Adverse events' web section.

The West Coast DHB’s incident investigation system has four essential elements. Recognising and reporting incidents and near-misses is the first stage. A ‘no blame’ culture leads to staff being willing to report incidents in an atmosphere of openness and trust.

Incidents are then investigated with recommendations made to address any system gaps identified. Most adverse events or near misses are the result of a chain of events and circumstances that create unexpected gaps in the process of caring for patients.

The investigation is then reviewed by a multi-disciplinary team. From that review, further recommendations might be made, also with the intention of reducing the likelihood of something similar happening again.

Finally, key staff are tasked with implementing and monitoring the recommendations to ensure real change occurs.

Serious incidents are also reported to and monitored by the Health Quality and Safety Commission.

What is an adverse event?

These events were previously referred to as ‘serious and sentinel’ events.

An adverse event is any event not related to the natural course of a patient’s illness or underlying condition that has resulted in harm to a patient.

How is the seriousness of an event determined?

A Severity Assessment Code (SAC) Matrix is used to help ensure that the appropriate level of investigation is undertaken. Depending on the outcome of the event a code of 1-4 is assigned. The code determines the level and depth of investigation that occurs. Any incident scoring 1 or 2 is deemed to be serious and is notified to the Health Quality and Safety Commission. An example of this includes a patient who has a fall while in hospital and breaks a bone.

Page last updated: 8 February 2022

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