Changes that have been in place during COVID-19 alert levels 3 and 4 to protect patients and the public will again be altered for Alert Level 2, including controls on hospital visitors.
From Thursday 14 May, the following rules will apply to visitors to all MidCentral DHB facilities, including Palmerston North Hospital, Horowhenua Health Centre and Te Papaioea Birthing Centre:
- Patients may have more than one visitor between the hours of 10am and 8pm but only one visitor at a time.
- Visitors will be asked to sign in and give contact details upon arrival.
- No visitors under the age of 16 will be permitted.
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.
- A parent or guardian can support a child or baby at all times. Another parent or family visitor can swap duties with that carer by arrangement with their charge nurse.
- Terminally or severely ill patients may have more than one visitor, one at a time, during their entire stay at the discretion of their charge nurse or medical lead.
Outpatients can have one support person accompany them to their clinic appointment, if they wish.
MidCentral DHB Acting Chief Executive Dr Jeff Brown welcomed being in a position for more people to visit their loved ones while in hospital as it had been a difficult time for patients, whānau and staff.
“While it is important that some restrictions on visitors remain in place to protect patients, whānau and staff at DHB facilities, we know how important whānau support is during recovery and are pleased to be able to increase this support for our patients during their hospital stay.
“However, we still need to be careful about how many people are in our facilities, which is why we are still allowing only one visitor for each patient at one time. We ask families to coordinate who is going to share the visiting of their loved one.”
Dr Brown thanked the public and health staff for their efforts and understanding during what has been a challenging time for the community.
“MidCentral DHB staff have worked incredibly hard during the COVID-19 response to ensure our operations have been able to continue as safely as possible in a very different environment. We acknowledge their actions and the work they have done every day to help keep our community healthy and safe.
“We are also incredibly grateful for the patience and support we have received from the community, and we hope to see this continue as we transition to our new normal.”
With more people expected to be Palmerston North Hospital, regular car parking operations will be back in place from Thursday 14 May to ensure there is sufficient parking for patients, visitors and staff.
Dr Brown said that while restrictions were easing it was still important that people maintained good hand hygiene and physical distancing at Level 2, and if anyone was feeling unwell they should stay at home and not visit.
Anyone experiencing cold, flu or respiratory illness symptoms, no matter how minor, is encouraged to get tested at one of MidCentral’s six testing sites. Testing is available seven days a week.
To get an appointment for testing, call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 or contact your GP team.
Dr Brown said the DHB was contacting people directly about their upcoming appointments and procedures but anyone with questions could call 0800 256 963.