Visitors could be asked to help out patients by doing basic care tasks on the day of nurses strikes.
DHB's across the country are working on their contingency plans for the upcoming strikes, which are looking more likely after DHB's and the New Zealand Nurse's Organisation failed to reach an agreement.
The Counties Manukau DHB says it's working through a contingency planning process should a strike go ahead on July 5th.
It's the first of two 24 hour strikes planned for July - if a deal over pay negotiations can't be met, with the Employment Relations Authority being called in for urgent facilitation.
Auckland's DHB says it's well advanced in its planning, and will also work with nurses to ensure emergency services are available.
This includes working with nurses to agree on staffing levels for life-preserving services.
It says the next step is for individual DHBs to work with the Nurses Organisation to ensure essential services are available if a strike occurs.
Hutt Valley DHB is expecting nearly all of its nurses to go on strike.
Acting Chief Executive Dale Oliff says they're working to make sure their patients will be safe but does mean they will have to minimise services on the day of the strike.
"We are postponing all clinics and non acute surgery and carefully discharging before the strike as many hospital patients as we can that don't need acute care."
Oliff says it means family and visitors may need to lend a hand to the person they're visiting.
"Families and visitors will be asked, and its things like helping feed patients."
She says it's been challenging but they're ensuring their patients will be safe.
"The patients who are in hospital, we will absolutely be caring for them at this time but we will be focusing our resources on acute patient care."