Staying with us in hospital

Cancel or change your appointment

We want your stay with us in hospital to be as comfortable as possible and we want to get you home as soon as it is medically safe to do so.

Home is the best place for most people to improve their wellbeing and independence and recover faster.

We understand that coming into hospital can be an anxious time and will do all we can to put you at ease and support your visit. Please find below some information to help you prepare and know what to expect during your stay.

Click here to download our 'Coming into Hospital Booklet', which also covers key information about coming into hospital.

Additional patient guidance due to Coronavirus

Please visit our new 'Coronavirus' pages to get the latest updates and guidelines. 

This includes information on face coverings, social distancing and restricted visiting times. 

We are making a number of changes to our services in order to continue to deliver safe and effective care.

We are still here for you when you need us and we are the same compassionate people delivering your care!

Before you arrive

1) Read your letter carefully 

Read your appointment letter carefully, it will explain what you need to know, where you need to go and anything you need to do to prepare. 

2) Inform us of any special requirements

Please inform us of any special requirements before you arrive at our services, so we can do our best to support you. See below for more information on the support available.  

3) Plan your journey

Make arrangements to get to the hospital.

Visit 'Our Sites' page for information on how to reach our different hospitals, including links to public transport and other sustainable travel options. 

Visit our 'NHS Supported Patient Transport' page if you need assistance getting to your appointment, to see if you are eligible for this service. 

4) Other things you can do to prepare

  • Don’t forget to cancel deliveries such as newspapers or milk and to make arrangements for your pets.
  • If you receive a pension or state benefit please tell the Benefits Agency that you are coming into hospital.

If you require special support

Special support

At the RD&E we aim to provide a service that is user friendly and easily accessible to all.

Please inform the ward/department you are attending in advance (as outlined in your hospital appointment letter) if you require any special support, for example, if: 

  • you have a disability / mobility problems;
  • you use special equipment, such as a hoist or a support chair; 
  • you prefer to have written information in large print; 
  • you want us to translate information into a language other than English; 
  • you want us to provide information through British Sign Language. 

Please visit our 'Accessibility, support and learning disability' pages for more information on the support available. 

Dementia patients

People with dementia are often more confused and frightened when in hospital. We are committed to providing the very best care possible for our patients with dementia and delirium at the RD&E. Please visit our 'Dementia and delirium' pages for more information.

What to bring with you

Please bring:

We advise that you plan on being in hospital for only a short time and bring a small bag with a few essentials for your wellbeing and comfort, including:  

  • any medicines, tablets or inhalers that you take, including prescriptions, medicines that you have bought or alternative medicines, such as herbal remedies (it is vital that we know about all of your medication);
  • nightwear, dressing gown, slippers and comfortable daywear as you will be encouraged to get-up if possible; 
  • tissues (more hygienic than handkerchiefs) and wet wipes; a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, deodorant and any other toiletries such as shaving equipment;
  • bath towel and a flannel or sponge;
  • sanitary products such as tampons or sanitary towels if required;
  • something to read;
  • any aid that you would normally use - for example, spectacles, walking frame, stick, crutches, wheelchair, prosthesis;
  • a bottle of squash, if you want;
  • private insurance details if appropriate;
  • items of religious or spiritual importance;
  • small change for purchasing any small items you may want day to day, such as newspapers. 

Please do not bring: 

  • large amounts of money;
  • jewellery, valuable items or anything with strong sentimental value;
  • alcohol or tobacco.

Storing things safely

Please use the pink patient property baskets, if available, next to your bed to store small personal items such as dentures, hearing aids and spectacles to prevent them from getting lost. If a basket is not available then please ask our ward staff for somewhere to put your small items.

If you have to bring valuables please ask a nurse to store them safely and get a receipt.

The Trust cannot accept responsibility for loss or damage to items that you did not give us for safe-keeping.

We strongly suggest high cost items such as digital hearing aids are insured - for instance on your home insurance.

The Trust will not support claims for high cost hearing aids. 

MY CARE Clinical Transformation Programme

MY CARE improves the experience for patients, staff and carers by connecting people and information, using a new single electronic patient record (EPR) system. No matter where your care is provided, in hospital, community clinics or at home, our clinical teams will have the information they need at their finger tips to provide you with the best care possible.

This means that doctors, nurses and therapists will be using electronic devices when they see you as an inpatient, outpatient or in your home, to document information in a fast and efficient way. Using these devices allows for information to be uploaded to your records in real time and made accessible to clinical staff across multiple sites.

We use a range of devices, including large PCs on wheels, laptops, phones and some tablets. Only qualified members of staff can access these devices and they do not store any patient information directly on them. They are not used for any personal tasks by the clinician. Devices are cleaned before and after use, following each contact with a patient.

You may also be interested in signing up for our MY CARE Patient Portal. This gives you easy and secure access to your health records and more control of your health and wellbeing.

Click here for more information about MY CARE and to sign up to the patient portal. 

Your care in hospital

You can expect a warm welcome at the RD&E. We pride ourselves on providing safe, dignified, compassionate and inclusive care for all.

Patients are cared for under a named consultant and looked after by a team of healthcare professionals.

Below is some general information about what you can expect during your stay. Please see our A-Z of Wards and Services for further details.

A warm welcome

When you arrive on the ward, a member of staff will welcome you and show you where to go. Please ask us if there is anything you need or don't understand. We are here to support you.


You will be given an identification wristband to wear when you are admitted. This is so we can safely identify you at all times. Please check your details are correct and tell the ward staff if they are not. It is important that you wear the wristband at all times during your stay. If it becomes detached, uncomfortable or unreadable please ask a nurse to assist.

Our staff wear ID badges, including their photograph, to help you identify who they are. Please ask to see their badge if it is not visible.

Placing you at the centre of your care

At the RD&E we commit to fully involving you in every aspect of your care, including: 

  • Always treating you with dignity and respect, focussing on what matters most to you; 
  • Providing a clear explanation of your condition. Language translation can be arranged if you do not speak English or have hearing problems (please click here)
  • Discussing treatments and procedures we recommend and carry out; 
  • Describing the potential benefits and risks of treatment and discussing any alternatives; 
  • Asking for your fully-informed consent to any operation, procedure or treatment; 
  • Keeping your records confidential, in line with the Data Protection Act 1998
  • Giving you the opportunity to see your patient records if you wish, in line with the Data Protection Act 1998;
  • Working with other organisations involved in your care and sharing information about you only for your benefit and as necessary, removing identifying details where possible; 
  • Keeping your relatives or carers informed of your progress, if you wish; 
  • Welcoming your comments about our service and dealing with your concerns or complaints as quickly as possible.

In return we ask that you:

  • Give us all the necessary information about your condition, symptoms and medication;
  • Treat our staff with respect;
  • Help to feed yourself, keep mobile and look after personal hygiene as far as you can;
  • Arrange with your family or friends to take care of your personal laundry, if possible.

Same sex accommodation

All of our accommodation is divided into same sex bays for sleeping, with same sex toilets and bathrooms close to the bed area. 

Sharing with members of the opposite sex will only happen when clinically necessary. If you have any queries or concerns then please discuss these with the nurse in charge.

Nutritional food

Eating nutritional food and staying well hydrated is an important part of your care and recovery. We serve around 2,000 patient meals daily at the RD&E, all of them nutritionally assessed. Patients are asked to fill out a menu card each day with their choices. Special dietary requirements are catered for – please ask.

We use the cook-freeze system at the hospital (used in over 300 hospitals nationally), whereby meals are freshly prepared according to national nutritional guidelines and frozen for delivery. Our housekeepers then carefully reheat meals using purpose-built trolley ovens and serve them to patients on trays in each ward.

Where possible, we encourage patients to get-up for their meal and eat at their side table or at a communal table if available.


We will change your bedding as necessary, however this may not be daily.

We regret that we cannot take care of your personal laundry. Please ask a friend or relative to bring clean clothing for you. If this is difficult, then please talk to a member of staff.

Hand Hygiene

We take hand hygiene very seriously and suitable hand hygiene facilities are available for staff whenever they are in the patient environment.

Patients and visitors are of course encouraged to practice good hand hygiene too.

Alcohol-based hand rub is widely available in wards and treatment areas; at the exact place where physical contact between a patient and a health-care worker takes place. This ensures that hand hygiene is habitual, quick and easy for staff.

Patients are not required to use the alcohol hand rub as they are not having clinical contact. They should however practice good hand hygiene in general, for example washing your hands thoroughly after going to the toilet and before eating.

For more information about our rigorous infection prevention and control, please click here.

Your wellbeing in hospital

Your road to wellbeing

Our nurses and therapists launched a campaign, ‘Your Road to Wellbeing’, to empower patients to take steps to improve their wellbeing when in hospital. By following some or all of the advice below, you may be able to increase your sense of wellbeing and independence and could even speed your recovery and return home, depending on your circumstances.

The campaign has five key topics:

Get-up, get-dressed and keep mobile

Eat and drink well 

Get the most from your medicines

Keep in mind your mental health 

Make your going home plan as soon as possible

Your skin matters

Pressure Ulcers (sometimes called pressure or bed sores) are areas of damage to the skin and underlying tissue caused by pressure and friction. At the RD&E we do our utmost to prevent pressure skin damage and respond quickly and effectively when it occurs; our ‘Skin Matters’ campaign raises awareness of the issue and promotes learning and training amongst staff.

All patients can be vulnerable to pressure ulcers. They compromise the health and the wellbeing of our patients and can be uncomfortable, painful and distressing, leading to health complications and delayed recovery. 

We aim to identify pressure ulcers early by assessing patients at risk or who have got pressure ulcers already, so that skin damage can be prevented and managed effectively. Throughout the process we will keep patients and their carers fully informed and encourage you to discuss your needs and concerns. By working together we can reduce or prevent sore areas from occurring.

Our nursing teams are trained to identify patients at risk of developing pressure ulcers. We also have ‘Skin Matters’ Champions on each ward, who act as role models and advocates for our patients; raising awareness about pressure ulcers and providing training for staff.

Assessment of patients is ongoing and regularly reviewed and individual Care Plans developed, setting out the nursing care and measures taken to prevent, reduce and alleviate pressure ulcers. These may include:

  • appropriate turning or moving of patients 
  • checking high risk places on the body such as prominent bone areas 
  • introducing a diet to assist healing and skin health 
  • pressure relieving and reducing support systems 
  • a choice of dressings 
  • a choice and alternating of bed mattresses
  • discharge planning with care packages set up in advance of the patient leaving hospital

Patients and carers, if willing and able, can also help by:

  • Checking their own skin regularly after advice on what to look for - Sometimes using a mirror can make this easier or patients should ask for assistance
  • Informing the nursing staff of any changes or soreness 
  • Following advice and information provided on managing this condition 

Pressure Ulcers are a specialist field for the RD&E Tissue Viability Service, and they provide advice and training on good practice throughout the Trust. 

Additional services for your comfort


Patients, visitors and staff can now browse the Internet free of charge via their mobile device whilst visiting our sites. Select the NHS WIFI option from the list of available wireless networks on your device, and follow the on-line instructions to sign-up. 

Telephone, internet, TV and radio services

Many of our hospital beds at Wonford have their own telephone, internet, TV and radio services, provided by a company called Hospedia.

You can buy TV services via your credit or debit card directly at the bedside. Once registered you will receive internet, games and radio free. Ward staff can help you set up these services. The telephone service can be used to keep in touch with family and friends outside the hospital, but please note that external calls to the bedside are charged at a higher rate than a local call.

If you would like further details on the cost of making calls to the bedside phone please call 0345 414 1234 or visit

Pay phones are also available throughout our sites.

Hospital Radio

You can listen to our hospital radio free of charge. We broadcast 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, bringing you a wide variety of entertainment. Our programmes can be heard, for free, via the Hospedia entertainment system on Radio Channel 1, via light-weight stereo headsets provided at every bed.

We have an extensive music library, from Classical to Jazz, Reggae to Rock, and Country to the best-loved ballads, not to mention the all time favourite show time songs of yester-year. Whatever your tastes, we will have something you'll enjoy!

You can request a song by simply calling 01392 402020 (7pm - 9pm).

Safe patient use of electronic devices

We recognise that electronic devices such as mobile phones, I-pads, lap-tops and other devices are an integral part of daily life and you may wish to bring them with you to hospital. They can present a serious fire hazard however and we ask that you adhere to the following guidelines to help us to keep you and other patients and staff safe. 

  • Only use chargers from the relevant manufacturer for the device (e.g. a Samsung charge for a Samsung phone. They are less likely to cause a fire than generic devices). 
  • Do not unplug hospital equipment 
  • Do not leave your charger plugged in when not in use or on continuous charge 
  • Do not use a damaged device 
  • Do not leave your device on pillows, bedding or any soft furnishing 

Please note, we cannot take responsibility for any missing devices that have not been given to us for safe keeping and a receipt issued. We advise that you cover such items on your home, or other, insurance.   

Other facilities & hospitality

Our hospitals have a range of other facilities to benefit you and your visitors, which vary from location to location. These may include cafes, shops, cash machines, garden areas, pay phones etc. To find out more about what is available where you are staying please click here to visit ‘Our Sites’ pages.

Getting you home

Let's get you home

Your time is precious and you should only be in hospital as long as medically necessary. There is significant evidence that home is the best place for most people to improve their wellbeing, independence and recover faster where possible.

Watch our film ‘Let’s Get You Home’ which explains the topic in more detail.

Planning together from the get-go
We will begin discussing your discharge home with you within 24hrs of your arrival. By working on your discharge plan from the get-go everyone has sufficient time to make suitable and safe arrangements. Your discharge plan will include a multi-disciplinary assessment of your individual needs to ensure that you are clinically well enough to leave hospital and put in place any on-going support and care necessary. This might include medications to take home, on-going social and/or clinical care in the community, or transfer to a community hospital.
Your role

To make sure that your discharge is as smooth as possible we kindly ask that you;

  • Arrange for your departure in the morning (before midday) in order to vacate the bed for someone else who may need it
  • Make arrangements for your travel home. Staff will give you a likely collection time
  • If you are not fit enough to travel home alone you may be eligible for ‘NHS Patient Transport’ (click here to find out more)
  • Ask for any medical certificates you may need
  • Ask for any valuables you have handed in
  • Collect your hospital discharge letter for your GP
  • Return any hospital property such as gowns and crutches
  • Ask for any medications you have brought in to hospital to be returned and collect any new medications prescribed. We will give you an initial supply; if it is necessary to continue treatment, you will be advised to visit your GP who will be sent a copy of your prescription

Your feedback matters

We want to ensure that you have the best experience possible in our care and welcome your feedback. This enables us to celebrate success, resolve queries or concerns as soon as possible and continually improve our services.

If you have any questions about your care please talk to your nurse or consultant as soon as possible.

We want to be able to deal with your worries as quickly and thoroughly as we can.

You will also be asked to feedback using a 'Patient Feedback Card’ when you visit our services. 

For further information about how to feedback please visit our 'Your Feedback Matters' page (click here).

Our 'Patient Advice and Liaison Service - PALS' (click here) are available to provide advice and hands-on support for any queries, concerns or complaints you may have.


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