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


Glossary: What do all these words mean?

Use this glossary to find medical terms and their explanations. You can search for a particular word or phrase by pressing [Ctrl] + [f] on your keyboard and typing into the box that appears on your screen.

If you can’t find the word you’re looking for, you can ask us to add it.

  • ACC: A government organisation that helps pay for treatment of injuries. ACC compensation is available to anyone in New Zealand including citizens, residents, and visitors. Find out more at the ACC website.
  • Acute services: Healthcare for short-term severe injuries, illnesses, urgent medical conditions, and recovery from surgery.
  • Admission: When a patient goes into hospital or other healthcare facility for treatment or care.
  • After hours clinics: Health clinics that are open late at night and on weekends when most clinics are closed. These clinics may cost more than your usual GP. Phone your local clinic any time for information about where to find after-hours care.
  • Allied health: Healthcare professionals who are not doctors, nurses, or pharmacists. Allied health professionals include audiologists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, dental services, speech therapists, dieticians, and many others.
  • Assessment: A check to find out what problems a patient may have.
  • Clinician: A healthcare professional who works directly with patients. This includes doctors, nurses, and allied health.
  • Consultant: A senior hospital doctor or surgeon who is a specialist in their field. See also: Specialist.
  • Consultation: A meeting with a doctor or other medical professional to get advice.
  • Community care: Long-term care in patients’ own homes, rather than in hospitals or institutions. Community care usually involves patients who are elderly, or have a disability or mental illness.
  • Diagnosis: When a medical professional judges what type of illness or injury you may have.
  • Discharge: When a patient is officially released to go home from hospital or other health service.
  • District Health Board (DHB): Hospitals and other government-funded healthcare services in New Zealand are controlled by 20 DHBs. West Coast DHB oversees health services on the West Coast from just north of Karamea to just south of Haast. Nearby DHBs include Canterbury DHB and Nelson Marlborough DHB.
  • Elective: A non-urgent surgery. Elective surgeries are usually chosen by the patient to improve their quality of life.
  • General practitioner (GP): Family doctor. GPs usually work in clinics based in the community rather than in hospitals. Many GP services on the West Coast are provided by specially-trained nurses.
  • House Officer: A qualified doctor who has not begun specialty training.
  • Inpatient: A patient who stays in hospital overnight while being treated. See also: Outpatient.
  • NHI number: A National Health Index (NHI) number is given to every person who uses health and disability support services in New Zealand. Health workers use your NHI number to identify you, so you don’t have to repeat the same information each time you use a health service.
  • Occupational therapy: A branch of medicine using activities to help recover from illness or injury.
  • Outpatient: A patient who goes to hospital for treatment but doesn’t stay there overnight. See also: Inpatient.
  • Patient: A person getting medical treatment.
  • Patient-centred: When the patient is the main focus of healthcare. A patient’s health needs and desired results should be the main target of patient-centred care.
  • Patient record: A collection of documents recording a patient’s medical history.
  • Primary care: Health services that are directly in touch with the community. These include GPs, community nurses, physiotherapists, dentists, and pharmacists. See also: Secondary care; Tertiary care.
  • Primary Health Organisation (PHO): A not-for-profit organisation that supports GPs. West Coast DHB funds the West Coast PHO.
  • Referral: When a doctor or other health professional directs you to a medical specialist for further treatment or assessment. Your doctor will write a letter to the specialist introducing you and your illness or injury.
  • Registrar: An experienced doctor training in a specialty.
  • Rehabilitation: Therapy to help recover from illness or injury.
  • Secondary care: Services provided by medical specialists. These include cardiologists, radiologists, urologists, dermatologists, speech therapists, and psychiatrists. See also: Primary care; Tertiary care.
  • Specialist: A senior doctor or surgeon who has specialised in a certain field, such as orthopaedics, paediatrics, cardiology, or public health. See also: Consultant.
  • Tertiary care: Specialist services for inpatients. These include treatments for serious illnesses and injuries, cancer management, and complex surgeries such as heart or brain surgery. See also: Primary care; Secondary care.
  • Wellness: Being healthy. This includes mental and physical health as well as social wellbeing.

Page last updated: 26 October 2018

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