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

Temporary relocation of Reefton’s Ziman House residents

Friday 25 February 2022Health news3 minutes to read

There has been a decision to relocate the 10 residents who live at the Ziman House rest home within Reefton Hospital that provides hospital and rest home level care.

West Coast DHB General Manager Phil Wheble said Omicron is not currently directly impacting the Reefton Aged Care facility at this time, however it is increasingly spreading across the Coast and as a result, staff sickness was expected to increase.  

“Given concerns around current staffing challenges, including appropriate skilled management to support staff, and the need to ensure we continue to provide the right care for our residents, it is essential that we address the concerns around staffing now. This has led us to the decision that clinically we need to move the 10 Ziman House residents in a planned careful way.”

The West Coast DHB’s Complex Clinical Care Network would be carrying out an assessment of each resident to ensure they were temporarily relocated to a facility that could meet their needs.

“Due to the rapidly increasing number of cases on the Coast we are moving with urgency to assess each resident as soon as possible and connect with residents’ families or next of kin to decide on a suitable alternative rest home for each resident.

Phil Wheble said the DHB took its responsibilities seriously and would do everything it could to ensure the safety of residents and patients in all its facilities.

“One of our main concerns is that during the outbreak we will not be able to sustain safe staffing levels, and this is a major risk that could have a serious adverse impact on our residents.  With a vacancy in the Clinical Nurse Manager role in Reefton there is a risk that the right support for the team and residents would not be able to be provided during this time.

“We appreciate that relocating older people is disruptive and may be upsetting, however we need to ensure that they are living in a rest home that is well set up with sufficient staff resources to ensure they will be well looked after during the pandemic.”

Phil Wheble said the decision was not taken lightly and had been the subject of a special board meeting held last night.

Board Chair Rick Barker said the Board had carefully considered the clinical advice that the move was necessary for patient safety and reluctantly received that advice. 

“We have to accept that the emerging pandemic will drive changes that will affect each of us.  This temporary relocation of a loved family member is not wished for and will have its challenges.  The cooperation and assistance of family members will be welcomed and appreciated. We will take care and be sensitive to the needs and concerns of patients and family to ensure a smooth transition.” 

Phil Wheble added that this move will be only for four months, “as we move through Omicron and provides us an opportunity to invest in our staff, ensure we have the right clinical leadership in place and look at improving the facilities.  This will also ensure that the other services in Reefton can be provided in a sustainable way while Omicron develops on the Coast.  There are no plans to cut services. 

“We have clear plans to reopen Ziman House in June.”


Philip Wheble

General Manager

West Coast District Health Board


Related topics

Back to Health News

Page last updated: 25 February 2022

Is this page useful?