Changes to outings and visiting

By HBH - 26 May 2022

Changes to outings and visiting

Dear family, friends and residents,

Thank you so much to everyone who completed our survey about visiting your loved ones. As a result of your feedback, we’re making some changes to our visiting system, effective from Wednesday 1st June.

Results of the survey

As you can see in the three pie graphs below, the overwhelming majority of you want HBH to balance safety with visiting your residents which is what we have been trying to do throughout this pandemic. The other charts clearly show that you do want more freedom to visit and to take residents out.

Graph 1: The majority of relatives consider balancing the safety of their family member with visiting is most important (73%)

Graph 2: The majority of relatives would prefer the visiting system to be less restricted (73%)

Graph 3: The majority of relatives would like to be able to take their relative out of the facility (44%)

Changes to visiting and outings

We review our visiting situation week by week and we have made some changes over recent weeks – the survey was part of this process of constant review. 

In response to the survey, your visit no longer needs to be booked, and residents will be able to go on outings with families. These changes will take place from Wednesday 1st June. Note: There are still some restrictions, including RAT testing and mask wearing, and outings are limited to one per week per resident. 

Please read the attached information about visiting and outings carefully – and please follow all the instructions when you visit or arrange an outing. 

Increased visiting and outings brings increased risk of COVID infections

We want to be upfront with you about the reality that opening up our visiting and also allowing outings brings greater risk of COVID coming into our facility. This trade off was discussed when we sent out the survey. Even with RAT testing, health screening and mask wearing, increased numbers of visitors and residents going out into the community inevitably brings higher risk of coming into contact with a COVID positive person. Remember, people can be infectious but have no or very low-level symptoms and be unaware they have COVID.

If we do get a case amongst our residents in any of our facilities, the following will happen:

  • Either the entire facility or a part of the facility will go into immediate lockdown for at least 7 days and potentially longer – depending on how many residents contract COVID.
  • The DHB may require all residents to also remain in their rooms for 7 days to prevent spread through the facility.
  • If staff catch COVID during the outbreak, we may not be able to replace them, and we may have to reduce our service levels. We will always keep residents safe and cared for but things that fall outside of core care areas could be reduced. 

If we get a COVID case we will have to go into immediate lockdown and therefore you could turn up to visit to find us shut. We will communicate as soon as we can with families in these circumstances. 

We are one team learning to live safely with COVID 

In learning to live with COVID, while keeping our residents as safe as possible, we are all part of the same team, staff, residents, family and friends. We are all in this together. Therefore, please remember when you are making decisions around visiting and outings that you are making these choices not just for yourself and your relative, but for everyone who lives and works in our facilities. During these pandemic times we need to consider the needs of our whole community and our responsibility to help keep each other stay safe and well. Please also remember that our residents are very vulnerable and if they catch COVID it can be life-threatening. 

Our visiting and outing rules may change again if case numbers increase 

Finally, although we are opening up now, if community cases surge, or we have continual outbreaks in our facilities, we may have to reduce visiting and outings again for a time. As always, our primary goal is keeping everyone safe and well. 

Ngā mihi, thank you, 

CEO, HBH Senior Living

Changes to outings and visiting

From Wednesday 1st June we will be shifting to the to a new visiting and outings system. Click the button below for the latest information, and how you can help us keep your loved ones safe.

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Changed to outings and visiting

From Wednesday 1st June we will be shifting to the following visiting and outings system:

Visits will no longer need to be booked. You can visit at any time between 10am and 12 midday and 1pm and 4pm, daily.

  • The exceptions are at Gulf Views and Gracedale Care where Sunday visiting will be on a case by case basis due to staffing levels.
  • The no-visiting time between 12 to 1pm has been requested by residents who prefer to have their meals, and then use the bathroom etc without the disturbance of visitors. 

Requirements for visiting

There are still certain requirements that you MUST meet to visit:

RAT tests are required on day of visit by everyone visiting the resident

  • All visitors must RAT test on the day you visit. Please purchase your own and do this at home. Bring the test or a photo stamped with the time and date. 
  • If you cannot RAT test at home we will provide one, but please note that this will slow down your entry to the facility and you may have to queue.
  • For visitors to Howick, if it is raining or cold do your RAT test and then return to your car to wait for 15 minutes. There is to be no gathering of groups in the entrance way or foyer of the hospital.

At HBH you must still log in using the log in device which records your details and measures your temperature

  • After you have logged your details the first time, it will be quicker from then on. Please put your printed bar code on a card and bring it on your next visit for an even speedier log in.
  • If you have not yet logged in via the entrance device please allow time to do this. 
  • Please be patient and courteous if there is a queue.
  • All visitors must continue to enter via the hospital main entrance for screening.

Visiting is in the resident’s room only and numbers are restricted to being able to fit into their room

  • If too many visitors arrive at once some will have to wait. We suggest you co-ordinate with family members and friends to avoid this.
  • If you have to wait you will need to do so in your car or outside. Please do not congregate in the corridors or common areas – and please be patient and courteous towards staff and other visitors.
  • You cannot use common areas to visit in large groups. Exceptions would be special occasions such as birthdays, which need to be arranged in advance, with limits on numbers.

Visits can be any length (within visiting hours) but please keep them to 30 minutes when possible

  • The 30 minutes restriction has been lifted; however please do keep your visits to around 30 minutes or less whenever possible as this reduces risk. 

Masks must be worn at all times

  • You must wear a mask at all times during your visit and especially in residents rooms and corridors.
  • Mask exemptions will only granted for people who have the official MoH exemption card.

Unvaccinated visitors – must declare and wear full PPE

  • If you are not vaccinated please phone before you visit so that we can ensure we have full PPE available for you
  • With winter upon us you can visit in the residents room, but must wear full PPE at all times
  • If you do not declare your unvaccinated status or wear PPE you may be asked not to visit

Children under 5 years

  • Children under 5 can have supervised visits with an accompanying adult ( no more than two children at any time) . Where possible we ask that children are masked ( 2 years and above) and if you can RAT test beforehand this is strongly advised.

Going out of the facility – once per week per resident

Residents can now leave the facility for outings – with some restrictions

  • Residents who are able can be taken out by family but at this stage we are limiting this to 1 outing per week.
  • Please inform the RN in charge of the community in which your resident lives that you will be taking them out so staff are aware. Please do this at least one day prior.
  • On return they do not have to isolate but will be RAT tested on day 3, followed by the usual surveillance testing. 
  • Please keep your outings to low-risk activities, for example, a drive in the car or visit to the home of family members whose health and vaccination status is known to you.
  • Please avoid high risk areas where you might come into contact with larger groups of people.
  • Please ensure that everyone who will be involved in the outing has RAT tested that day. 
  • Please inform us ahead of time of any higher risk outings, such as a wedding or funeral. In these situations, the resident may need to isolate for 3 days (i.e., until we can do their day 3 RAT) on their return.
  • Please inform us immediately of any potential exposure to COVID that you become aware of relating to the outing.
  • Rest Home residents at HBH Howick can go out the rest home entrance but visitors collecting them will have to come in via the hospital for screening.
  • Visitors collecting residents must wear a mask if you are in the facility.
  • Where possible residents should wear a mask when moving through the facility (i.e. when moving out of their community bubble).
  • We recommend wearing masks while travelling by car, or in public places.
Lisa Waldren