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Changes to MDHB visitor policy under Alert Level 3

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24/04/2020
To ensure the safety of patients, staff and visitors as New Zealand moves from Alert Level 4 to Alert Level 3 of the COVID-19 response, MidCentral DHB is making changes to the visitor policy for inpatients at its facilities.

 
Though the amended rules will be less restrictive than those on Alert Level 4 visitor rules, the public is reminded that they are not a return to normal visiting protocols.
 
The visitor policy does not extend to those coming in for an outpatient appointment, radiology, or laboratory unless they are accompanying a child.
 
From 11.59pm on Monday 27 April, the following rules will apply to visitors to MidCentral DHB facilities, including Palmerston North Hospital, Horowhenua Health Centre and Te Papaioea Birthing Centre:
 
- One designated visitor from the patient’s ‘bubble’ will be permitted entry
- One visit per day between the hours of 10am-8pm
- Same visitor for the duration of the patient’s stay in hospital
- Visitors will be asked to sign in and give contact details upon arrival
- No visitors under the age of 16 will be permitted entry
 
There will be some exceptions to the above. These are:
 
- A birthing mother can have one support person with her throughout her labour and postnatal stay
- Children and babies aged under 16 will be allowed one parent/guardian for their entire stay, that person is their one visitor
- Terminally or severely ill patients may have more than one visitor from the same bubble, one at a time, at the discretion of their charge nurse and medical lead.
 
MidCentral DHB acting chief executive Dr Jeff Brown said amended visiting restrictions are necessary to ensure staff and patients are not put at risk.
 
“I ask that all whānau help us to protect and care for all who are in our MDHB health services. These are extraordinary times where we must make hard choices to enable us to safely care for those people who are in hospital.”
 
Dr Brown encouraged people to find alternative ways to contact their loved ones while they were in hospital.
 
“We know how important it is for those in hospital to remain in contact with their friends and whānau, so we are encouraging the use of cell phones and tablets to facilitate voice or video conversations.”
 
Dr Brown said DHB staff would be doing all they could to ensure patients were supported during their stay in hospital. Patients could also access chaplaincy services and cultural support from the Pae Ora Maori Health Directorate. Palmerston North Hospital provides free unlimited wifi and some devices are available for patients to contact their loved ones.
 
As an additional precaution, visitors to DHB facilities will be asked to sign in and sign out at entry points.
 
Under Alert Level 3, a few more planned surgeries and procedures will be going ahead. Those who are affected will be contacted directly to arrange this. Anyone who has a query about an upcoming appointment is encouraged to ring 0800 256 963 between the hours of 8am-5pm Monday to Friday to enquire about their appointment.
 
Anyone who is feeling unwell, or who is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 is asked to remain at home. Symptoms of COVID-19 include a cough, shortness of breath and temporary loss of smell and taste.
 
If you have any of these symptoms please phone Healthline (for free) on 0800 358 5453 or call your General Practice Team.
 
To prevent the illness spreading, it is important to maintain good hygiene, including washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, coughing or sneezing into your elbow, putting used tissues into the bin immediately, avoid contact with unwell people, do not touch your face and stay home if you feel unwell.
 
For the most accurate and up-to-date information on the coronavirus in New Zealand, health advice and resources, please visit the Ministry of Health website at https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus.
 
 

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