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.

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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

Delays expected in the return of residents to a refurbished Ziman House

Tuesday 3 May 2022Health news3 minutes to read

The re-opening of Reefton’s Ziman House will be delayed while a recruitment process to staff the facility is completed. West Coast DHB’s General Manager Philip Wheble says that initially our plan was to repatriate Ziman House residents in mid-June 2022, however their return had always been dependent on the recruitment of appropriately skilled, Aged Residential Care (ARC) trained staff.

“The reality is that recruiting into health care roles across New Zealand is challenging and more so for rural locations like the West Coast where the majority of facilities are currently recruiting due to workforce shortages. This situation has been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic and the extended border closure, as we rely on healthcare staff coming into New Zealand from overseas especially within the aged care sector.

“With the borders now open, we are advertising to fill vacancies across the West Coast Health system, including ARC registered nurse vacancies. Our recruitment strategy includes talent-sourcing nationally and internationally, multi-channel advertising across all job boards, targeted campaigns, recruitment open days and attendance at Career Expos.”

The initial phase of the DHB recruitment campaign for ARC trained RNs has yielded a good level of interest, but this has not converted to employment offers yet. The campaign will now add a direct contact approach, alongside the current digital promotion.  

Coupled with the shortage of ARC-trained staff, the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak on the Coast has come later than expected and this is having significant impact on ARC facilities. All ARC facilities have had COVID-19 cases among staff or residents and some facilities have had multiple exposure events.

The West Coast DHB currently supports three of the five ARC facilities with registered nurses and health care assistants to ensure safe staffing levels for the residents in each of these facilities. The DHB is unable to maintain this level of support and we are working with the Greymouth facilities to co-locate care, so the registered nurse workforce can support those who most need it: Hospital level-of-care residents.

Until all ARC facilities on the Coast have recruited sufficient staff to ensure the appropriate care of their residents, Ziman House must unfortunately remain closed.

“The DHB acknowledges that this situation will be unsettling for families whose loved ones have been moved from Ziman House and it will have ongoing impact for families as they travel to visit,” Mr Wheble says.

“What is exciting is that residents will return to a fully refurbished facility which includes new equipment such as beds and furniture as well as new curtains and flooring. Some bathrooms have been modified and all residents’ rooms are being painted.

“Reefton Area School has also kindly committed to creating some artwork for the refreshed walls of Ziman House, to welcome the residents back. This fantastic offer is reflective of the wider Reefton community’s enthusiasm and involvement in issues that matter to the community,” says Mr Wheble.

“We are currently advertising a new leadership role to strengthen aged care leadership both in Reefton and across the Coast.”

If you or anyone you know is interested in working in Reefton’s Ziman House, please get in contact with our recruitment team.

More information is available on the WCDHB Careers page –



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Page last updated: 3 May 2022

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