Under Alert Level 2 Hawke’s Bay DHB has revised its visitor policy however, some restrictions remain in place to ensure the safety of patients and staff.
Under Alert Level 2 restrictions remain in force for high risk areas such as the Emergency Department, Intensive Care, Mental Health Inpatient Unit, Special Care Baby Unit and maternity units where only one visitor and one visit per day will be allowed. (Update 15 May: no visitors will be allowed for ED in Level 2).
In other hospital areas it will still be one visitor at a time, but more than one person will be able to visit during the day, but each person can only visit once a day.
Acting Chief Medical and Dental Officer John Gommans said visiting hours of between 1pm-8pm would be strictly enforced. Security guards at the main entrance to Hawke’s Bay Hospital and other DHB inpatient medical facilities would collect contact phone numbers and names of all visitors in case there was a need for contact tracing.
For people coming to a DHB facility for an outpatient, radiology, or laboratory appointment, they should come alone unless they have been advised to bring someone with them. The exceptions to this are oncology appointments, or if someone was accompanying a child.
Dr Gommans said many outpatient waiting areas of the hospital were physically constrained and couldn’t physically enable social distancing of more than one metre if everyone attending clinics brought someone with them.
Unless otherwise advised from next week people attending outpatient clinics at Hawke’s Bay Hospital will be asked to go through the main entrance to the hospital, where a waiting room will be set up, rather than go directly to the villa. Signage will be posted to make it clear for people attending these outpatient appointments.
This more relaxed visitor policy would help ensure the on-going safety of vulnerable patients but at the same time let patients have visitors but in a more controlled way so effective contact tracing could be done if required, he said.
Under exceptional circumstances further dispensation may be granted for additional visiting at the discretion of the Clinical Nurse Manager in charge of the areas.
Patients can still use DHB owned iPad to video call family members from a bedside stand using the DHB’s free Wi-Fi if they wished to virtually visit family who lived out of the region or overseas, he said.
Dr Gommans said it was vitally important that no one visited a patient in hospital if they were unwell. Visitors should follow social distancing rules and make sure their hands were thoroughly washed or cleaned with alcohol gel before and after visiting.