Information for visitors

Visitors policy

Last updated on 9 May 2022

We are regularly reviewing our visitor policy throughout the Omicron outbreak and are working hard to prioritise the safety of our vulnerable patients, while also understanding that this is a difficult time for whānau.

The majority of our visiting restrictions will remain in place until further notice. Our visitor policy will be reviewed again in two weeks time to ensure our restrictions are appropriate for the level risk to our patients and staff.

Please note: STAR 1, STAR 2, STAR 4, and OPAL wards are temporarily closed to visitors. In these wards the Mahi Tahi partner in care initiative will continue with Kaimanaaki required to take a Rapid Antigen Test before entering the ward. For more information about this please see here: 

Important update: Ward 23 is temporarily closed to all visitors, with emergency exceptions at the discretion of the charge nurse. These restrictions will be in place for 7 days and will be reviewed next week.

The following will apply to visitors to MidCentral DHB facilities, including Palmerston North Hospital and Horowhenua Health Centre: 


General Visitor Policy

  • One visitor per person over the age of 12, one visit per day between 2pm and 8pm.
  • Masks are required for all visitors and Kaimanaaki.
  • Patients are allowed to have a visitor and Kaimanaaki Partner in Care present.
  • Visitors and Kaimanaaki at our facilities must not have symptoms of, or have tested positive for, COVID-19.
  • Screening questions will be asked on arrival, and we will provide appropriate resources (i.e N95 masks) for those who have chosen not to get vaccinated to ensure their safety.
  • RAT testing may be required in certain specialties to protect the patients who are at great risk. 

There are slight variations to this policy for the following areas of the hospital.


COVID-19 Ward/Patients

  • Visits to COVID-19 patients will be considered on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the identified nurse in charge. 


Emergency Department 

  • One essential support person only (for example, one parent or caregiver can attend with a dependent child or adult, a support person may accompany a patient with disabilities, or a support person in the event of critical illness).
  • The essential support person must wear a mask.


Maternity Ward and Outpatient Appointments 

  • One support person (over the age of 12) is able to stay during labour and delivery.
  • The support person for the birthing parent is considered to be Kaimanaaki (a partner in care) under our Mahi Tahi programme. This means we will ask if they are vaccinated and provide appropriate protection for them based on their vaccination status (i.e. more protective N95 masks).
  • Visitors and Kaimanaaki must not have symptoms of, or have tested positive for, COVID-19.
  • One visitor (over the age of 12) is able to visit with you in the postnatal ward during visiting hours.
  • Masks are not required by people in labour however everyone else must wear a mask.
  • Depending on the individual circumstances - Kaimanaaki may be able to stay the night. Please discuss this with the person in charge at the postnatal ward.
  • One support person may accompany a patient attending a scan or sensitive appointment.


Children's Ward and OutPatient Appointments

  • One parent or caregiver can accompany a child and is welcome to stay at all times.
  • In the ward green zone (COVID-19 negative) one other nominated parent or caregiver may visit their child between 10am-8pm.
  • The parent or caregiver must wear a mask and will be asked to do a RAT test on arrival.


Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

  • Parents may visit together or separately. Masks must be worn at all times.


Mental Health & Addiction Outpatient Appointments

  • One support person may accompany a person attending an outpatient appointment.
  • The support person must wear a mask.


General OutPatient Appointments

  • One support person may accompany a patient attending an outpatient appointment.
  • The support person must wear a mask.


Please note: the visitor policy does not apply to patients. You do not need to be vaccinated to access healthcare services.