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Patients & Visitors

Staying in Hospital

Life on the Ward

In this section:

Please Note:

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Entering and exiting the ward

We operate a 'swipe entrance and exit' system across all our wards. This is to protect our patients, visitors and staff and not to restrict you leaving the ward.

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Is it okay to ask lots of questions?

Yes, go ahead, we really encourage this. We want you to become involved in your health care and play an active part in decision making.

We’ll give you lots of information, in person and in writing, so you can feel confident that you are getting the best possible care. It’s important that you understand all the information you are given to ensure you are clear about your diagnosis/condition and tests or treatment.

So fire away, whether you want to know more about your condition, or the tests you might need, or the treatment options available. And if you’re worried or want a second opinion, then talk it through with someone in the team looking after you. We’ll always make time to listen.

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Pain relief

Minimising pain during your time in hospital is a very important part of recovery. One of the most effective ways of controlling pain is to take pain relief at regular intervals as prescribed.

If at any time your pain is not being controlled, please inform staff immediately.

If you find it difficult to sleep, staff will advise and help you with this problem.

Patient Information Leaflet: Pain Relief following Surgery

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Will I stay on the same ward throughout my time with you?

We’ll try wherever possible to keep you on the same ward throughout your stay.

However, if you need specialist care from another service in the hospital or in the case of an emergency, you may be moved to another ward. But don’t worry, the staff on your new ward will be just as welcoming!

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Will I be looked after in a mixed-sex ward?

We understand how important your privacy is, and our priority is to ensure that you are cared for in single-sex facilities.

The majority of wards in the hospital have both male and female patients, but patients are cared for in separate male and female bays and there are separate bathroom facilities for men and women.

All toilets and bathrooms are single, lockable rooms

However, there may be some cases, particularly in emergencies, where we can’t provide single-sex accommodation. This is most likely to happen if you need to be looked after in an emergency or intensive care ward, or a high dependency or observation unit.

In exceptional circumstances, this may also occur in general ward areas. Should this be the case, and you would prefer to be in a single-sex bay, you will be temporarily cared for in a mixed-sex area (providing you give your consent). You will be transferred to a single-sex area as soon as a bed becomes available.

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I’m an overseas visitor – will I have to pay for my treatment?

Yes, the NHS charges overseas patients, unless they are exempt. Ward staff will contact the Private and Overseas Patient Office (Telephone 01225 821484) and they can advise you about this.

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Do you need my consent before surgery or treatment?

Yes, we do. We won’t go ahead with treatment or surgery without your permission. And you have the right to refuse any treatment or examinations. If you are not able to give your consent, staff will act in your best interests.

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Will I come into contact with students?

It’s possible that you will come into contact with students, as our Trust is involved in teaching students. Often, you will see student doctors, nurses and other trainee clinical staff on the wards.

They may help with giving you direct care or examinations (under supervision) and you might be asked to discuss your condition with students. You have the right to refuse to be seen or treated by students – refusal will not affect the rest of your care.

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Will I be asked to take part in research?

Trust staff are involved in a variety of research projects and at some stage in your treatment you may be asked to be involved with one of these projects.

Any research you are asked to take part in will be relevant to your care. Your consent to be part of a research project will be asked for separately to all other aspects of your treatment.

You have the right to refuse to be involved in any research – refusal will not affect the rest of your care.

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Will any samples or specimens be taken from me?

Sometimes samples or specimens are taken from you during your treatment to help us understand your condition or plan your treatment. Your consent will be sought if these samples or specimens are to be used for research purposes.

To find out more, please ask a member of staff for a copy of the Tissue Use information leaflet.

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Is smoking allowed in the hospital?

From Tuesday 1 January 2019 the Trust is completely smokefree – our smoking shelters have been removed and smoking is not be permitted anywhere on Trust grounds. E-cigarettes (vaping) are permitted, used outdoors only and away from main entrances.

Those who breathe second-hand smoke are exposed to the same health risks as smokers, including heart disease and cancers. Being a smokefree site will protect the health and wellbeing of all our patients, staff and visitors. If you wish to leave the site to smoke, you should check with ward staff that it is safe for you to do so.

Patients using oxygen cylinders should never smoke whilst using the equipment as there is an extremely high risk of fire or explosion.

If you have any concerns about managing your cravings while staying in hospital, please talk to one of the team caring for you. Nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs) can be provided to support you.

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Can I use my e-cigarette (vaping)?

You can only use your e-cigarette outside of the hospital building. E-cigarettes do not contain tobacco but usually deliver nicotine.

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What should I do if I have any fears or concerns?

Don't panic, you're in capable hands. If you have any fears or concerns, please speak to a member of staff. If you are unable to leave your bed to speak to a member of staff you can always alert them by pushing your bedside call button or pulling the cord.

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Can I wear my own clothes on the ward?

If you will be staying in hospital for several days, where appropriate, we may encourage you to wear your own pyjamas and daytime clothes. This can help you to maintain your individuality and self-esteem.

If this is something that we think may be helpful for you, we will talk to you about it and ask your family to help by providing a regular supply of clean clothes. More information is available in the leaflet In My Clothes.

Advice about how to wash a patient's clothes at home is available in the leaflet
Washing a Patient's Laundry at Home

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What’s the food like?

Lunch and Supper


Monday Lunch & Supper

Tuesday Lunch & Supper

Wednesday Lunch & Supper

Thursday Lunch & Supper

Friday Lunch & Supper

Saturday Lunch & Supper

Sunday Lunch & Supper

Week 1:

Full Week's Lunch Menus

Full Week's Supper Menus

Week 2:

Full Week's Lunch Menus

Full Week's Supper Menus

Children's Menus

Lunch: Supper:

Monday Lunch

Tuesday Lunch

Wednesday Lunch

Thursday Lunch

Friday Lunch

Saturday Lunch

Sunday Lunch

Monday Supper

Tuesday Supper

Wednesday Supper

Thursday Supper

Friday Supper

Saturday Supper

Sunday Supper

Snack Menu

Daily Lunch & Supper Menu

Daily Lunch & Supper Menu

Asian Halal Menu

Kosher Menu

Caribbean & West Indian

Vegan Menu

Low Residue Menu

About the food we provide

We provide food that is nutritionally suitable for all of those in our care. You are served three meals and seven drinks a day. Good nutrition is very important part of recovery and we aim to keep interruptions during your meal to a minimum.

Carers are very welcome to assist you with your meal.

Before some investigations and procedures you may be given special instructions about eating and drinking. Please follow these instructions strictly.

If you require a special diet or have cultural/religious needs, please tell the ward staff as soon as possible so that this can be arranged. There is a menu booklet available on each ward for this.

Food can also be pureed for you, if necessary. We can also supply therapeutic diets required for medical reasons are also available.

RUH Food and Drink Strategy

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Can I listen to the radio and watch television?

Yes. Patientline provides the majority of patients with a bed side service, which includes pay-to-use television, a telephone and free access to radio. It has a loop system for those with a hearing aid. Bedside internet and email access is also available. Please ask about the cost.

You may use your personal stereo with headphones.

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Can I make telephone calls from my ward?

Yes, all wards have a payphone which you can use to make outgoing calls.

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Can I use my mobile phone?

Mobile phones may be used by patients, visitors and staff in all areas of the hospital buildings in accordance with local notices and direction given by staff.

For reasons of patient safety...
    In some areas, such as the Cardiac Centre (Angiography Suite), Cardiac Ward and Coronary Care Unit, the use of mobile phones is strictly forbidden.

    Notices are posted in these areas and must be observed.

The following rules and guidelines should be observed at all times:

  • Mobile phones should be used with consideration of others
  • Still or moving images may not be taken in any part of the hospital without specific permission
  • Patients and staff should switch off their mobile phones during consultation and treatment
  • In the absence of any published guidance in a ward or department, patients and visitors considering using a mobile phone should consult a member of staff

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Can I get post?

Yes, post is delivered every day and a member of the ward staff will bring your mail to you.

To avoid delays, please ask your relatives and friends to use your full name, the name of the ward and the full address of the hospital.

Outgoing mail is collected from the ward each day. Stamps can be bought from the Hospital shop located in the Atrium (main reception) on the ground floor.

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What measures are in place to ensure security on the wards?

Whilst the hospital does have a duty of care for both the patient and their property, we do expect those in our care to take reasonable precautions to look after their belongings.

Valuables should be handed in for safe-keeping and a receipt obtained.

Spectacles and dentures can go missing when they are not placed in a recognisable case or box. Dentures wrapped in tissue and left on tabletops can easily be mistaken for rubbish and removed by cleaners.

You should be aware that the RUH does not have facilities to hold a large amount of cash on the site for lengthy periods of time. Large amounts of cash handed over for safe-keeping may be deposited in a bank and returned to you when you leave hospital in the form of a cheque.

We work in partnership with the Avon and Somerset Constabulary to ensure the safety and security of all patients, visitors and staff.

To help us, please…

  • Don’t bring in credit cards, jewellery, or large sums of money
  • Don’t leave any valuables unattended in your bed-side locker or bed area
  • Report any loss or theft to the ward staff as soon as possible
  • Report anything suspicious to the ward staff

Aggressive behaviour: We expect all patients and visitors to treat other patients, visitors and hospital staff with respect. Please note that we operate a zero tolerance policy for aggression and violence.

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