HOSPITAL VISITING

There is still a heightened risk to vulnerable people in hospital, so we recommend all people to continue wearing a mask when visiting any of our facilities and follow other advice designed to keep patients, staff and visitors safe.  See our COVID-19 page for general COVID-19 advice, detailed hospital visiting guidelines and COVID-19 tests.

See West Coast COVID-19 vaccination clinics for info on vaccinations.

Last updated:
16 September 2022

Fewer visitor restrictions now apply

For visitors to all facilities (effective from and last updated on 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

On arrival

Complete the admission form – fill it in and return it by the date at the top of the form.

If you are entering hospital for an operation, we might ask you to attend a pre-admission clinic. This visit assesses your current health and includes some routine tests.

Please go to reception at the front entrance to the hospital at the time specified. Our Admission Clerk will help you complete your paperwork and tell you where to go.

If you are arriving on a Sunday and have attended the pre-admission clinic, please arrive before 3.30pm (unless otherwise requested).

If these times don’t suit your needs, please ring and discuss this with the Admission Clerk.

There are maps in the main reception areas, and service directories beside the lifts.

Please ask the receptionists or another member of staff if you need directions.

When you arrive on the ward, the ward clerk or nurse will meet you. At the start of each shift, the nurses assigned to look after you will introduce themselves to you.

You will generally remain on one ward for the time of your hospital stay but may be transferred to a different room.

  • All staff will introduce themselves and explain what they do
  • All staff wear identity badges.
  • You will always have a nurse assigned to you. If you need help at any time use the call button at your bedside or in the toilets and showers.
  • Doctors may include:
    • House Surgeon: Qualified doctor who has not begun specialist training
    • Registrar: Experienced doctor training in a specialty
    • Specialist Consultant: Senior doctor or surgeon who is a specialist in their field.
  • You may meet other staff during your stay. These can include: physiotherapists, pharmacists, occupational therapists, dieticians, social workers, laboratory staff, midwifes, orderlies, and administration staff. You can ask to see any of any of these people.

If you have surgery planned, your specialist may require you to attend the Central Pre-Admission Clinic at the hospital. This clinic will give you an up-to-date medical check to help with your care before and after surgery. It is important to bring any medications you are currently taking to this clinic.

During the pre-admission you may see the following doctors:

  • Anaesthetist: The doctor responsible for putting you to sleep for your operation
  • Registrar: An experienced doctor training to become a specialist
  • And sometimes your specialist

As part of the pre-admission check you may have to visit other parts of the hospital for further tests. These tests are done to ensure you are as well as possible and help plan for your surgery.

These tests may include:

  • Blood tests
  • Chest x-ray
  • Urine tests
  • ECG (heart test)

Arriving unexpectedly

If you arrive in an ambulance or have an emergency, you will enter through the Emergency Department.

If you have an accident, or if you belong to St John your ambulance ride will be free. If you have called an ambulance and do not belong to the organisation, St John will likely send you a bill for your transport.

Waiting times at the Emergency Department

The triage nurse (a senior registered nurse) will check you to see how urgently you need a doctor.

You may have to wait to be seen if there are other people with more urgent needs. Nurses will observe you while you wait to make sure you are safe and answer any questions until you can be seen.

Page last updated: 31 July 2020

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