Going into and leaving hospital

"I’d like advice to help me manage my hospital stay."

While you are in hospital

Going into hospital can be a daunting feeling, especially when you don’t know what to expect. Here are some useful things to know about your hospital stay.

What to expect when you arrive

When you arrive at your hospital ward you’ll be greeted by a member of staff and shown to your bed. They’ll be able to help you with any questions you might have. They will also show you:

  • where to store your belongings - there will be a small cupboard beside your bed
  • how to use the call bell at the side of your bed
  • which toilets and bathrooms you can use.

They’ll also ask you:

  • to give details about yourself, including your next of kin, address and contact details
  • about any medication you are taking. You’ll also be asked to hand this over to the nurse in charge.
  • if you have any allergies, such as with food or medication.

Your treatment

Your nurse or doctor will explain the:

  • investigations they will carry out
  • possible treatments for your condition
  • risks and benefits of each treatment.

You should be fully satisfied that you have received enough information before giving consent for them to go ahead with your treatment. Make sure to ask any questions you have!

Eating and drinking

You will be given food and drink during your hospital stay (as long as it doesn’t affect your treatment).

There is a choice of food for all your main meals, and hospitals will cater for:

  • allergies and intolerances
  • vegans and vegetarians
  • dietary restrictions due to pregnancy or religion.

If you need help with eating and drinking, please let the ward staff know.

At some hospitals, voluntary workers visit the wards with a selection of snacks and sweets for you to purchase, or you can visit the hospital shop if you are able.

TV, radio and phones

Most hospitals have a television, radio and phone service provided by an external provider. You may have to pay for this service. If you would like to access this service, please ask the nurse in charge when you are on the ward.


There are different arrangements in place for visiting people in hospital at the moment due to the ongoing COVID pandemic.

Select the name of the hospital you are attending to visit their website and view their visitor guidance.

Help for dementia patients while in hospital

If you have a condition due to dementia, such as a memory or cognitive impairment, you can ask for a Butterfly champion from the Butterfly Scheme to help you while you are in hospital.

How the champion can help

The champion will work alongside the hospital staff involved in your care to:

  • look after your safety and wellbeing
  • reduce any anxiety you may be feeling while you are in hospital
  • introduce ways for you to receive treatments without it causing distress.

How to access this service

If the Butterfly Scheme is available in your hospital it is usually offered to you when you are admitted. However you can access it at any time during your stay, just ask to speak to the Butterfly champion. You can find out more on The Butterfly Scheme website.