If you are coming in to one of our hospitals for treatment, you may have a few questions about your stay. Our medical staff will always be happy to help you but this section also aims to answer some of your questions. This covers everything from how to find our hospitals and what to do when you get here, to mealtimes, visitors, inpatient support, and more.
Non-emergency hospital transport for patients
If you have a medical need and cannot get to and from our hospitals in any other way, find out more about our hospital transport.
Call us first
As a specialist centre for heart and lung disease, we accept patients from all over the UK. This means that sometimes, we get emergency patients who must take priority so occasionally have to cancel or delay planned admissions. We do, however, try to keep this to a minimum.
To make sure we have a bed for you, please phone the ward the day before you are due to come in - you’ll find the name of your ward on the admission letter we sent to you. If you are due to be admitted on a Sunday or Monday, please call the ward on the Friday beforehand.
If you have a disability or special needs, please let us know, or contact the patient advice and liaison service (PALS) so we can make any necessary arrangements for when you come to hospital.
Before coming into hospital we ask patients to:
- avoid shaving their operation site because this may increase the risk of infection. If this needs to be done for an operation, your nurse will help you to do this using special clippers
- have a shower and wash their hair the night before their operation or procedure
- contact the hospital if they are suffering, or have suffered, from sickness or diarrhoea within the past 48-hours
What to bring with you
1. Registration form
Please bring your completed registration form and admission letter with you.
2. Medicines and prescription
It’s important for you to bring your current prescription, and all the medicines you are taking, into hospital with you - preferably in their original containers. These should include any over-the-counter, non-prescription medicines you may have bought. This way, we can check that you are taking the right medicines and doses at the right times.
We have also introduced a scheme that aims to reduce medicine wastage and make it clear what medicines you need to continue taking when you get home.
The scheme works by having your hospital doctor assess whether you should continue taking your current medicine. If you're happy to do so then your medicines will be kept in the locker by your bed and you can take them as normal. Any medicine you no longer need will be taken to the pharmacy department and destroyed safely.
If you are responsible for taking your own medicines, or have a carer who helps you to do this, this is called self-administration. If this isn't possible for you, we'll discuss that in more detail when you come into hospital.
If you don't want to take part in the scheme, that's fine, but you should still bring your medicine in for us to check your current treatment. You will then be asked to arrange for your own medicines to be taken home and you will be given any medicines you need while you're in hospital.
Medicines at home
Our pharmacy department will make sure that you have a lest 14 days' supply of each medicine. They will also try to make sure you have a 'patient pack' of medication that includes a patient information leaflet (PiL) for you to read. If you don't get a PiL in your pack, please just ask your ward pharmacists.
Contact your GP within the first two weeks of being back at home to arrange for more medicines if you need them.
- nightwear and a dressing gown
- comfortable slippers with good grip and support for your foot and ankle - they should cover your heel, ie. please avoid mule-type slippers because they can cause you to slide or trip up
- comfortable day clothing
We do not have laundry facilities for your personal clothing but we can provide plastic bags for your used laundry.
When you come in, you will need a:
- toothbrush and toothpaste
- hairbrush and comb
- bottle of liquid soap (please do not bring bars of soap and soap dishes because these can increase the risk of infection)
5. Other items you may need
- any mobility (walking) aids you use
- books, magazines, games or other items to help pass the time
- a small amount of money (to buy items from the hospital shop as needed)
- your travelcard or money for getting home
Please do not bring the following:
- towels and flannels (we provide those)
- jewelry and other valuables
- large sums of money
If you really can’t avoid bringing valuable items with you, please hand them to a nurse who will lock them away for safekeeping. You will get a receipt showing which items we have stored, so please keep it safe. You will need to give the receipt back to us when you come to collect your belongings.
How to get to hospital
Royal Brompton Hospital has three main buildings, so your ward could be on:
- Sydney wing – the main hospital entrance on Sydney street
- Chelsea wing – the entrance on Dovehouse Street which can also be reached via a bridge from Sydney wing, but is not wheelchair friendly
- Fulham wing – the entrance is on Fulham road, next to the Royal Marsden Hospital
Ideally, arranging for a friend or relative to help you when you come in to hospital, or when you leave (either by car or helping you on public transport) would be best for you, but we understand that isn’t possible for everyone.
We are only able to organise hospital transport for patients with medical conditions that prevent them from using other transport and who do not have relatives or friends who can help them. If you think you fall into this category, please talk it through with your GP or another healthcare professional. Find out more.
When you get to Royal Brompton or Harefield Hospital, please go to the ward named in your admission letter. If you are unsure, go to the main hospital reception in Sydney Street or Harefield.
When you arrive on your ward, go to the nurses’ station and hand your patient registration form to the ward administration staff working alongside the nurse looking after you. Note that your bed may not be available immediately, so we may ask you to wait in the day room.
At this point, staff will also explain what you should expect from your procedure. They will also ask you to sign a consent form to show you agree to the procedure and understand what it involves. This is a safeguard to make sure we only act with your permission.
Read more about the consent process and your rights as a patient.
Your ID (identity) wristband
When you are in hospital you will be given a wristband with your basic personal details to wear. This includes: name, date of birth, hospital number and gender. These details will also be in a barcode on the wristband. Please check the details and let us know if anything is wrong.
When you receive any kind of treatment or investigation, such as getting medicines, giving blood samples, or having an operation performed, we will check and/ or scan the barcode on your wristband. We’ll also confirm your details with you so we can make sure that you are getting the right treatment at the right time.
All our wards accommodate both male and female patients but have areas – bays, bathroom and toilet facilities – which are single sex. Please note that in intensive care and high-dependency areas, where we provide specialist nursing and medical care, patients require constant monitoring. This means that in these areas, male and female patients may, on occasion, be accommodated together. All efforts are made to maintain privacy and dignity at all times.
Please speak to a member of staff if you have any questions or concerns about privacy during your stay at Royal Brompton.
Hospital cleanliness is an important factor in infection control and prevention. We work very closely with our contract domestic services company to make sure we meet the standards required.
Regular cleanliness checks of the clinical areas are made by the domestic services company and hospital staff. If you feel an area is not clean or notice something we can help with, please tell one of the nursing team - they will try to deal with the problem immediately.
Washing your hands is also an important part of preventing infection. You may have noticed that hospital staff are bare below the elbows, with no long sleeves or jewellery. This is to make sure that everyone can wash their hands thoroughly before and after patient contact. Patients who have some infections will be in a side room, and everyone will need to wear gloves and aprons - there will be a sign on the door telling visitors what precautions are needed. If either you or your visitors are unsure about what you need to do, please ask a member of the nursing team.
Please use the alcohol hand gel available at the entrance to each bay and side room. A hand wash basin is available in each of the bays and side rooms.
You can help us by making sure your visitors clean or wash their hands:
- after using the toilet and before eating or drinking
- before and after visiting you or any clinical area
If you’re not sure whether someone treating you has cleaned their hands, please ask – they will not be offended.
Find out more about our approach to infection prevention.
Food is an important part of your recovery, so we work hard to meet your individual dietary needs. If you have special dietary needs as a result of your condition or treatment, our dietitians can organise meals for you. We have a 'red tray' system in place: this means that if you have a red meal tray, staff know that you are a patient who needs extra nutritional support at mealtimes.
Generally, mealtimes are:
- breakfast – 8am to 9am
- mid-morning snack and drink – 10:30am to 11:15am
- lunch – 12pm to 1:15pm
- afternoon tea and cake – 2:30pm to 3:30pm
- evening meal – 6pm - 7:15pm.
There is always a choice of food and you can select your portion size. We can also provide suitable meals for a variety of cultures, religions, tastes and needs on request. These include: Kosher, Halal, Asian and vegetarian meals. Make your selection by ticking the relevant boxes on the menu. If you need any help, please ask.
If you’re having a test or procedure during one of your mealtimes, don’t worry; the nursing staff will ask the catering department to provide a meal when you get back.
Eating meals with your visitors
If you are well enough, you can join your visitors for a meal in one of the hospital restaurants. Please check with your nurse that it’s okay for you to leave the ward and you are well enough. If you are, he or she will give you a meal voucher for use in the restaurant.
Generally, visiting times are in the morning and afternoon but you can double check:
- where it is displayed at the entrance of each ward
- on information slips available to patients and visitors
- on our website
- with ward staff
Different wards have slightly different policies about visiting: some wards have periods when they prefer not to have any visitors at all, so patients can rest. Sometimes, the nurse caring for you will ask that you only have short visits or a certain number of visitors at a time. Talk to the nursing staff if you want to know more about the policy on your ward.
If you have visitors, please:
- ask them not to visit you if they have a cough, cold, stomach bug or other infection – they may pass it on to you or other patients
- get them to use the alcohol gel provided before entering ward areas, and wash their hands before and after visiting the bed area
- make sure they consider the other patients near your bed space
- ask them not to sit on your bed because of the increased risk of infection - please ask ward staff about the chairs available
Hospital restaurant, cafes and shops
You will come across many different members of staff during your time in hospital. All our staff are trained to give you the best care possible and treat you with courtesy and consideration at all times.
We know it can be difficult to keep track of all the staff who visit you during your time in hospital. All staff wear identification badges and should introduce themselves to you but, if they don’t, please feel free to ask them to do so.
Consultants are senior doctors responsible for patient care. Each consultant works with a team of doctors. The specialist registrar supervises your treatment, while senior house officers look after your daily care.
Doctors from the medical team will visit you regularly to see how you are getting on and to prescribe treatment. If, at any time, you would like to discuss your treatment with a member of the medical team, your nurse can arrange a meeting.
A sister or charge nurse is the head of each ward and is supported by a modern matron and clinical services manager. They are assisted by nurses and healthcare assistants, who will be involved in your day-to-day care while you are on the ward.
The nurse in charge of each shift will wear a red ‘nurse in charge’ badge, so they can be easily identified.
You will have an identified nurse responsible for co-ordinating your care on each shift. Different nurses wear different types of uniform – any nurse on the ward will be able to explain this in more detail.
There are many other members of staff who you may meet during your stay in hospital. These include:
- domestic staff
- catering assistants
- ward clerks
- occupational therapists
- social workers
- welfare rights advisors
- infection prevention and control nurses
Royal Brompton hospital is a postgraduate teaching hospital. This means that doctors, nurses, and paramedical staff come to our hospital for advanced training. Some of this training takes place on the wards and this means a small number of postgraduate students may be present when your doctor is with you. They may ask to examine you. If you would rather not have students involved in your care, please tell us. This will not have any effect on your care or treatment.
The multi-faith chaplaincy team
While in hospital you may have concerns and worries. The spiritual and religious needs of patients, their families and friends are important to the Trust. The multi-faith chaplaincy team is committed to supporting you during your stay with us. If there is anything they can do to help you, please do not hesitate to contact them on extension 4736, or ask one of the ward staff to do so.
Within the team there are various faiths. If you would like to see someone from your own faith group, this can be arranged, either from within our own team or from our many religious contacts locally.
Perhaps you just want someone to talk to? If so, a member of the chaplaincy team will be happy to meet for an informal chat.
If you need some peace and quiet time for meditation or prayer, you can visit one of our spaces:
- The chapel, near the lifts, level 2, Sydney Street
- Multi-faith prayer room beside the chapel, Sydney Street
- Quiet room, Victoria ward, 2nd floor, Fulham Road
They are open to everyone, whether you have faith or not.
We also have weekly services and activities across the hospital. Find out more.
For general information, contact the chaplaincy team or email email@example.com
In an emergency (out of hours), please ask staff to contact the on-call chaplain.
Patient advice and liaison service (PALS)
Sometimes you may have a question or worry that you don’t feel you can share with a doctor or nurse. In these instances, you can contact PALS, who can help you with any concern you may have.
If you would like a hospital volunteer to visit you, PALS can arrange this.
You can contact PALS direct at Royal Brompton hospital on 0207 349 7715 or via the main Trust switchboard 0207 735 28121. The PALS office can be found on level 2, near the main reception in Sydney Street. The office is open Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm.
A provisional ‘going home’ date will be discussed when you are admitted. As soon as your doctor feels you are well enough, this date will be confirmed. If you have any worries about returning home, please tell your nurse or the social worker.
On your day of discharge, you may be asked to vacate your bed. You will be able to wait in our day room for your transport home. While you are waiting. a nurse will complete your discharge process.
Health insurance forms and sickness certificates
If you need a sickness certificate for your employer, we can only sign one for the time you have been in hospital. Your GP will provide a certificate for any further cover.
If you require a health insurance form to be completed, please tell the nurse looking after you or the ward administrator and they will arrange this.
Please arrange in advance for a relative or friend to collect you when you leave hospital. If this is impossible, notify your nurse as soon as possible as it could take up to 48 hours to arrange transport.
If you arrived at hospital by hospital transport please ensure your nurse knows this on admission.
How you can help us before you leave
Here are some helpful and useful things you can do before you leave the hospital that will help our staff:
- Leave a forwarding address with your nurse
- Remind the person who is collecting you to bring your clothes (if you are travelling on hospital transport you should wear outdoor clothing and not nightwear)
- Ask your nurse for any medical certificates you may need
- Collect any valuables you brought with you
Individual staff are not allowed to accept personal gifts but sometimes patients wish to show their appreciation by means of a contribution. Read more on our fundraising pages.
When you are back at home
Please feel free to telephone the ward if you want advice at any time.
If you have a question, or any concerns about your medication when you get home, please telephone our medicines helpline on 020 7351 8901 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm). A member of our pharmacy department will do their best to help you.