Information for visitors and support people

Should I be visiting?

It sounds obvious, but hospitals are a place to support those requiring high levels of medical care. Before visiting someone in hospital it is worth thinking about why you are visiting and whether this is the right time and place to visit.

Patients in hospital require time to rest and recover, to receive health diagnostics, interventions and guidance. As patients are already unwell they are at increased risk of infectious diseases, which are likely to take a bigger impact than if they were well.

Things to consider before visiting:

  • Do I need to visit now?
  • Does the patient want me to visit?
  • Are they well enough for me to visit?
  • Am I well enough to visit them?
  • Will my visiting interrupt their cares?
  • Will my visiting infringe on the rights of other patients?
Am I well enough to visit?

COVID-19 has shown just how easily visitors can bring in infection risk to a hospital setting. We ask visitors not to enter the Timaru Hospital if they have any of the following symptoms:

  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Fever
  • Any cold or flu symptoms
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting

If you have any of the above please do not visit until you have been symptom free for 48 hours.

At all times visitors must practice hand hygiene on arrival. These measures are to ensure the safety of patients and staff by minimising avoidable contact and the potential for spread. To help our visitors keep a digital diary of where they have been, we have QR codes are available at the main entrances for visitors to scan. Visitors who do not have a smartphone are asked to keep a paper diary of where they have been.

Balancing rights, safety and others

"Every consumer has the right to have one or more support persons of his or her choice present, except where safety may be compromised or another consumer's rights may be unreasonably infringed.” - Right 8 of the Health and Disability Code of Rights.

It is the role of staff to balance this right with the patients’ right to receive good care (including the ability for the person to rest and recover, receive health interventions and guidance, be kept safe through infection prevention and control measures) and the rights of others receiving care. As such the South Canterbury DHB visitor and support person's policy outlines two types of visitors and the times they are able to be at the bedside.

Any exception to the above visitor policy will be made with compassionate consideration by the charge nurse/midwife and/or duty nurse manager (this may include collaboration with a Senior Medical Officer).

Support Person

A support person is someone who is nominated by the patient to be present.

  • In the inpatient setting (where someone stays overnight), a support person/s may be present between 8am-8pm, except where safety may be compromised or another consumer's rights may be unreasonably infringed.
  • In the outpatient setting (where you come in for an appointment or Emergency Department), a support person may be present anytime, except where safety may be compromised or another consumer's rights may be unreasonably infringed.
  • Special instructions: The Emergency Department and Oncology and Medical Day Unit are limited to one support person per patient due to space constraints, safety around infection risk and chemotherapy administration. Jean Todd Maternity is available for one support person at anytime.

A person who attends the South Canterbury DHB sites for the purpose of visiting a patient who is staying overnight.

  • In the inpatient setting (where someone stays overnight), a maximum of two visitors at a time are welcome between 2pm - 8pm except where safety may be compromised or another consumer's rights may be unreasonably infringed.
  • Parents/guardians of children are not considered to be visitors and have access to their children at any time. Provision for them to be admitted as “boarders” with their children will be arranged as appropriate.
  • Special instructions: Jean Todd Maternity is available for two or more visitors during the hours of 2pm-8pm.

Timaru Hospital is undergoing renovations

We are very excited to be undergoing active renovations and development at the Timaru Hospital site. We appreciate that this may impact your visit and want to thank you for your patience. Please don't hesitate to ask any of the friendly staff if you need help finding your way and be sure to give yourself a little extra time to park and make it to your appointment.

The front of hospital redevelopment includes:

  • A new public and staff cafe
  • A new main entrance with an atrium
  • An extension to the outpatient’s department.

site map

General Information

The information below is provided to answer common questions about your visit to Timaru Hospital. If you have any questions not covered below please contact the hospital on 03 687 2100.


What we can both expect


We welcome your feedback

Timaru Hospital is smokefree


Advocacy Service

Cellphones, electronic devices and public telephones

Whānau Room


Discharge from hospital

Vibe Cafe and vending machines

Hospital Chaplain and Chapel

What we can both expect

As a support person to someone in our care it can be useful to know what is expected of patients and what they can expect of us at the hospital. There are two key services for the advocacy of patients, they are the Code of Patients Rights (leaflets are available in every patient area) and the Advocacy Service. Posters describing our Policy of Care are also displayed throughout the hospital.

We ask that our patients please:
  • Be open and honest about their health, so we can work together to plan their care.
  • Don't smoke, drink alcohol or use illicit drugs.
  • Always wear their identification bracelet unless otherwise instructed by staff.
  • Don’t leave the ward without checking with a nurse, as we need to know where they are at all times.
  • Label all clothing and don’t bring any valuables to hospital. While we make every effort, we can’t be responsible for possessions.
  • Follow staff instructions in the event of an emergency.
  • Don’t use cell phones within one metre of any medical equipment or anywhere in ICU/CCU.
  • Prepare for medical procedures according to the instructions given to them. if in doubt, ring the department or ask a staff member.
  • Respect the rights of other patients and staff.
  • Respect hospital property and return loaned items.
  • Tell us if they feel their rights are not being met to their satisfaction, or if they are unsure about any aspect of their care.
  • Tell us if they have any spiritual or cultural needs that are not being met.

We support patient's right to be fully informed about their health situation and care. Please don’t hesitate to ask for more information or to question anything you don’t understand. We encourage the support of a close relative/whānau or friend and are happy to discuss how support people can be involved in patient care. If your child/tamariki is a patient and you want to stay with them, please discuss this with ward staff.

We welcome your feedback
Timaru Hospital staff want to improve the services we provide. We welcome your suggestions and comments, positive or negative, as part of our efforts to identify what we do well and what we could do better. Please let staff know immediately if you are unhappy with any part of the care we have provided so issues can be resolved. Learn more about how to action concerns about care and providing feedback.
Timaru Hospital is smokefree

South Canterbury DHB is a smokefree environment and workplace. This means smoking is not allowed in any building or surrounding grounds. Help, advice and nicotine replacement therapy is available if you experience difficulties regarding smoking — just ask ward staff. Learn more about becoming Smokefree today.

Discharge from hospital

Our aim is to discharge patients by 11.00 am. As a support person you can help ease this process by ensuring travel or pick up arrangements have been made.

Keeping infection out of the hospital

It is important to practice good hygiene while in hospital and stay safe from common infections.

Visitors should stay away if you have experienced diarrhoea, vomiting or flu symptoms in the past 48 hours. Patients can borrow a telephone in the ward to speak to people who may be infectious without seeing them face-to-face. You are also encouraged to wash your hands or use hand gel at the beginning of every visit, and as you leave the bedside.If an infection is suspected or identified, sometimes a patient will be cared for in isolation. There are special precautions to be taken when visiting an isolated patient. Please talk to staff if you have any questions.

Cellphones, electronic devices and public telephones

Cellphones and electronic devices can interfere with medical equipment. Please do not use these items within one metre of medical equipment or anywhere in ICU/CCU. If in doubt, check with your nurse. We ask that you comply with any staff request to turn off these items.

Public telephones are available at the hospital’s main entrance, in the stairwells on levels 2 and 3 of the Clinical Services Block, and opposite Surgical Ward reception on level 5.

Please refrain from taking photos and videos within the hospital. If you do take a photo or video please ensure you have permission from all persons (including staff) before taking the image.


120-minute parking is available in the car park near the main hospital entrance, which has six disabled spaces, and along Queen Street. There are also two car park areas off Edward Street. Parking on High Street has no time limit. Car parks are unsupervised. Vehicles are left at the owner’s risk.

Advocacy service

A free, independent Advocacy Service is available to ensure patient rights are respected. The service can be contacted on 03 687 2291.

Hospital Chaplain and chapel

An ecumenical chaplain is on call to offer support, counsel, or sacramental ministry. Your personal beliefs, culture and privacy will always be respected. The hospital chaplain or your own religious or spiritual leader can be contacted at any time through your ward staff. The Hospital Chapel, located between the Clinical Services Block and the Gardens Block, is open 24 hours for anyone to use.


The hospital’s Kaumatua Liaison Officer can be contacted on 03 687 2385

Whānau Room

A Whānau Room, located on level 2 near the Chapel, is available for patients and their relatives.

Vibe Café and vending machines

The Vibe Café is located on level 3. It's open weekdays 7.00 am – 7.00 pm, weekends and public holidays 8.00 am – 2.00 pm. Vending machines are available in the hospital’s main entrance foyer. Drinks facilities are available in waiting areas throughout the hospital. If you are waiting for tests or a procedure, please check with a nurse before you eat or drink.


Inward mail is delivered twice daily on weekdays. For outward mail, stamped envelopes may be given to your nurse or placed in the post box outside the hospital’s main entrance. Flowers and parcels are delivered as they arrive.


Free Wifi for patients and visitors is available. Look for "Hospital Free wifi" in your wifi settings.

Television, radio and newspapers

Televisions are available in the patient lounge of each ward. You may bring your own radio, headphones, and TV by prior arrangement. Please note that any personal electrical items (i.e. TV, radio, hairdryer, shaver, etc) must be checked by hospital electricians before they can be used.

Hospital FM 88.1 is on air 24/7 with local broadcasts on evenings and weekends. Outside these times the station carries “The Sound” programming. Requests can be made by phoning 687 2299 within the hospital.