Before you come into hospital
Before being admitted
Many patients are admitted into hospital in an emergency. However, if your stay is planned, your admission letter will tell you about anything you should or should not do.
For example, you will be given instructions about the timing of your last food and drink before coming into hospital.
If you take any medication, you will be advised at pre-assessment whether you should take this on the day of your surgery. It is important that you follow the instructions given to you.
Please tell us if you have any disabilities or special needs including special diets or difficulties with mobility, sight, speech or hearing - this will help us to look after you.
Please read your admission letter carefully as you may be required to telephone the hospital before your admission.
You should make any necessary arrangements for the care of your family and pets as well as the collection of post and care of your property that you feel necessary.
You may also need to make some advance plans for when you return home, for example arranging help with shopping or cleaning.
Pensions, Benefits and other allowances
If you are receiving benefits, you may need to notify your local Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) office in advance of your admission into hospital. There are notes in your Social Security book to help you to do this.
If you need a medical certificate for your employer, please ask the ward clerk or one of the nursing staff who will be able to help you.
Items to bring with you: (labelled if possible)
You will have a small locker next to your bed for your personal possessions but storage space is limited. You should bring with you:
- Prescribed tablets and medication that you usually take at home.
Please give any prescribed tablets and medicines to the nurse in charge. The doctor will prescribe all the tablets and medicines that you need for your treatment while you are in hospital and for when you return home.
If you have a card giving details of any current treatment, particularly a steroid card, please bring this with you and inform the nurse on the ward.
- Admission letter and letter from your own Doctor (if you have been given one).
- Bed jacket/cardigan or dressing gown.
- Nightdress or pyjamas.
- Slippers or comfortable shoes (to avoid slips on the floors).
- Toiletries (including hairbrush or comb, soap (or soap substitute if skin is dry), toothbrush, toothpaste or denture cleaner and shaving equipment).
You may also want to bring with you:
- Any patient information leaflets you have received along with any questions you may wish to ask your doctors.
- Box of tissues.
- Day clothes.
- Some money for Patientline, the radio and telephone service (see page 16 for more information), or for buying items from the shop or trolley service.
- Things to do, such as reading and writing materials, crosswords (don't forget your pen), knitting etc.
- Spectacles, contact lenses (including cleaning fluid), hearing aid and denture box.
- Any addresses or telephone numbers that you think you might need.
If you have been admitted in an emergency and you do not have any of the above items please speak to the ward staff.
Items not to bring with you:
Large amounts of money or valuables, like jewellery, because we cannot guarantee their safety.
Alcohol, any illegal or non-prescription drugs.
Large amounts of perishable foods.
Mobile phones - these can only be used in limited areas. Please be aware of restrictive signs in place. Payphones and the Patientline telephone service are available for you to contact relatives and friends.
The East Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust and its staff do not accept any liability for loss, theft or damage to patient's personal property or money unless it has been handed in for safe custody and an official receipt obtained.
You are therefore strongly advised to ask a relative to take home any money or valuables or to hand them over for safe keeping during your stay in hospital.
During your stay
Arrival on the ward
When you arrive on the ward, one of the ward team will show you to your bed, explain where things are and introduce you to the staff on duty.
You will be given a plastic identity bracelet with your name and identification details on it. Please wear this all the time you are in hospital.
If you have not already done so, please tell ward staff if you have any disabilities or special needs.
After your admission, a doctor will see you and may ask some questions about your condition or medical history.
If you have any questions, worries or concerns please speak to a member of staff immediately - this will enable us to deal with any issues as soon as possible.
If you are normally cared for at home by a relative or friend, please try to arrange for this person to be present when you speak to the doctor and ward staff.
This person may be able to explain any special care you have at home that may be of help to us. If you have a Care Passport, please hand this to the admission nurse or ward clerk. It should be returned to you went you are discharged.
A Care Passport is for carers to record the care needs, preferences and communication needs of the person they look after, if the patient themselves cannot communicate with staff.
Please respect other patients around you who are sleeping and keep noise to a minimum during the night. Mobile phones can only be used in designated areas.
The Ward Team
All our staff wear badges with their name and job title on; if you do not know who is speaking to you, please ask them to introduce themselves and if necessary, ask them to show you their identification.
Every ward has a ward sister or charge nurse who is responsible for managing the ward. You will meet them or their deputy during your stay but please ask to see them if you have any concerns.
Nursing staff wear different colours and styles of uniform according to their grade.
On each ward there is a dedicated housekeeping team who are responsible for maintaining high standards of cleanliness and providing a comfortable environment.
In some areas there will be a ward co-ordinator who, apart from maintaining the cleanliness of the ward area is also responsible for food and beverage services and minor household maintenance tasks. If you have any concerns regarding the cleanliness during your stay, please inform a member of ward staff.
Your medical care is the responsibility of your consultant. You may see him or her during your stay but you will also be seen by members of his or her team.
Our hospitals are also teaching hospitals and it is likely that on some occasions you will be asked if you mind if medical students and other health professionals are present during your treatment or examination.
If you are not happy about this, please tell us.
Information about your treatment and progress is kept private and confidential. However, we appreciate that you may want relatives, friends and carers kept up to date.
With your permission, our staff will speak to a family member or friend about your progress; this person can then pass information on to others. Please tell one of the ward staff the name of the person you have chosen and their contact details.
Should you or your nominated representative wish to view your health records please ask for an application form from our health records department.
We must obtain your informed consent before any procedure or intervention takes place. In most cases you will be asked to sign a form (the consent form) to confirm that the procedure or intervention has been explained to you together with any risks that it may carry.
This must be done before the procedure or intervention takes place. Medical or nursing staff will explain all the necessary details before asking you to sign a consent form. If you are unsure about any part of the treatment, or would like more information, please ask to speak to the doctor or senior ward staff again.
You will be given a copy of any consent form that you, or in some instances someone acting on your behalf, will be required to sign.
Visiting times are shown outside of each ward which allow for rest periods each day for patients. In special circumstances other visiting times can be arranged with the nurse in charge of the ward if the set hours are a problem.
To reduce disturbance for all patients during visiting times please limit your visitors to two per visit.
Your visitors are welcome to bring gifts for you during their visits. However, due to lack of space and to keep ward areas tidy, flowers should be restricted to small arrangements in oasis only rather than large bunches needing vases. Why not ask your visitors to give flowers on your return home?
Another popular choice is for visitors to buy you tokens for Hospedia, the bedside pay-to-use television and telephone system.
Managing your pain
Following surgery, it is important to adequately control your pain. Not only will your hospital stay be more comfortable, but good pain relief can also help to speed up your recovery.
If your pain relief is adequate you will be able to move, take deep breaths, cough and co-operate with physiotherapy with less discomfort.
Following surgery, these activities are important if the risk of post operative problems such as chest infections are to be minimised.
If you are in pain please tell a member of staff who will be able to help you.
Since many patients will experience pain or discomfort after discharge following surgery, you will normally be issued with a supply of pain-relieving tablets.
You will receive instructions about how and when to take these medicines before you are discharged.
If you are still unclear about this, please ask for further explanation, as it is important for your comfort and safety to take pain relieving medicines correctly.
Some types of pain relieving medicines work better if they are taken regularly after surgery so don't be surprised if you are instructed to take certain medicines regularly initially e.g. anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen, and other drugs such as paracetamol.
Some pain-relievers like the anti-inflammatories are better taken with or after food if possible but this is not essential.
While you are taking pain-relieving medication given to you on discharge, you should follow the advice given to you by your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
You should not substitute other pain-relieving medicines in place of those you have been issued with unless you have taken advice from a doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Infection prevention and control measures
It is important that we restrict the spread of infection by following strict infection control procedures.
These include rigorous hand washing procedures, high standards of cleanliness on the wards and the use of side rooms when necessary. Visitors are asked to follow whatever measures ward staff have put in place.
To help us to prevent the spread of infection please feel free to remind staff to wash their hands.
We would also ask visitors not to come into the hospital if they are unwell or vulnerable. If in doubt, please check with the ward staff in advance of their visit.
Visitors are requested to:
- Inform staff of their arrival.
- Wash their hands before and after their visit.
- Not sit or lie on the patient's bed.
- Keep babies and infants under control and not to allow them to crawl on the floor or beds.
Services for patients
Meals and meal times
The catering team hopes that you will enjoy the range of food that is offered from our menus. The menu has been selected combining ideas and views of the catering and dietetic departments together with patients’ suggestions. Menus are designed to include a choice of popular and customary dishes.
Each day we provide you with breakfast, lunch and an evening meal with a range of choices available. Special dietary requirements of all patients groups are catered for i.e. children’s menus, soft food, gluten-free, cultural associated or religion associated etc. If you require a special diet, please inform a member of the ward team who will contact the catering department.
The trust operates a protected meal time over the lunch time period to give you the ‘peace and quiet time’ you need to eat your meal without any unnecessary interruptions. This is a period of time when all non emergency activities on the ward will stop. The nurses, ward housekeepers and volunteers will be available to help serve the food and give assistance to patients who may need help.
The protected mealtime for your area is displayed on the entrance to each ward. We ask that visitors do not visit at this time unless they are assisting you with your meal.
Breakfast 8.00am – 8.30pm
Lunch 12noon – 1.00pm
Supper 5.30pm – 6.30pm
Beverages are available at regular intervals throughout the day. We offer tea, coffee, chocolate and a malted drink. If any drinks are required at other times, please ask the ward staff.
Fresh drinking water is available at all times.
If you have any queries regarding the food and would like to discuss the matter further, please speak to the ward staff who will contact a member of the catering team.
If you want to let us know what you think about the food or service, there is a questionnaire which is available from the ward staff. Each questionnaire is returned to the catering manager who will reviews any comments and make changes to the service if necessary.
Refreshments for visitors
Visitors can buy refreshments from the staff restaurants as well as the shops and coffee shops at the main entrance areas.
The Channel View Restaurant is situated on level 4 and is open from 7.00am until 2.00pm.
The Café is situated at the main entrance and is open as follows:
Monday – Friday 7.30am until 6pm
Saturday – 11.30am until 6pm
Sunday – 1.30pm until 6pm
Eastbourne District General Hospital
The Restaurant is situated on the lower ground level near Polegate ward and is open from 7.00am until 2.30pm.
WRVS Café is situated on the lower ground level at the entrance to the Restaurant and is open from 11.00am until 6.00pm.
WRVS Coffee Shop is situated at the main entrance and is open from 8.00am until 6.00pm.
In most wards there is a pay-to-use bedside television, radio and telephone system called 'Hospedia'. You will need to buy cards to operate this system. There are vending machines outside, or near to, most wards. Your friends and relatives will be able to call you directly on this system.
Hospedia is provided by a private company and they are responsible for the system and set the charges for services, including the cost of incoming and outgoing calls. If you decide not to use the Hospedia system, payphones are available throughout the hospital and televisions can be found in many ward day rooms.
If you have difficulty in speaking or understanding English, please let us know as soon as possible so that we can arrange an interpreter for you.
We have a number of staff who can act as interpreters and we can contact Language Line (who are able to provide an interpreter in more than 140 languages) on your behalf. Interpreters will maintain your confidentiality at all times.
Hospital radio provide a variety of programmes, available free of charge. There are also daily request shows.
Pastoral and Spiritual Care
This is delivered by the chaplaincy team which forms an integral part of the trust's commitment to the all-round care of patients and their families.
Support from the team is available to everyone around the clock whether or not they embrace a religious faith.
Chaplains work alongside clinical and nursing staff and make regular ward visits. They are happy to listen in total confidence to any concerns that patients and loved-ones may have.
Contacts have been developed with most local faith communities and the chaplaincy works in partnership with them. The team enables the ministry of any faith to be available at the bedside.
Either you or a relative or carer must give us permission to disclose information about your care and whereabouts to either a chaplain or visiting priest, clergy or lay visitor. In addition, the trust is happy to allow visits by local faith leaders to patients who are members of their congregation.
Regular christian services are held in the Hospital Chapel (times available on request). To contact the chaplaincy please speak to your nursing staff.
In line with national legislation, all trust hospitals and other buildings are completely smoke free. In addition to this and as part of the trust’s commitment to implementing ‘Choosing Health’ recommendations, a ‘smoke-free’ status also exists for all trust grounds.
Anyone who has difficulty refraining from smoking while in hospital should speak to a member of the ward staff. Support is available to help smokers cope with their stay in hospital and to provide continued support on discharge if they choose to continue with a stop smoking programme.
East Sussex Stop Smoking Service provides advice and support at a number of drop-in clinics throughout East Sussex. Contact 0800 917 8896 for details.
A regular trolley service provided by the League of Friends, with a selection of newspapers, magazines and sweets, is available on most wards. Please ask the ward staff for further details of other patients' services available.
When you first meet your doctor on admission or at pre-assessment for your surgical procedure; they, along with other members of the healthcare team, will estimate how long you will stay in hospital.
This will be recorded and will help you, your family and carers plan for your discharge with all the staff involved in your care.
On the day of your discharge, any medicines that you need will be prescribed by the doctor and supplied by the hospital's pharmacy department.
However, if your medication has not been changed and you have a supply at home please inform the nurse immediately as this may speed up the discharge process for you and allow you to be discharged earlier.
On the day of your discharge, you may be transferred to a discharge lounge to wait for your transport home or for your medication.
These comfortable lounges are staffed by nurses and help to free up beds for new patients to be admitted.
Questions and comments
We welcome your comments or suggestions relating to any aspect of your care. Please let us know if you have any queries and our staff will be pleased to assist you.
A Patients Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) office is located in the hospital main reception area. The PALS team are there to provide patients with information and a dedicated point of contact if they have any queries or concerns about hospital services. Leaflets about this service are available on the ward.
Violence and aggression towards staff
The expectation of East Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust is that none of our staff will be exposed to unacceptable behaviour such as verbal, racial or physical abuse.
Should there be an incident where a patient or visitor's behaviour becomes unacceptable or causes harm the trust will, where appropriate, support staff and pursue any necessary action which may lead to a conviction.
Helping at our hospitals
Volunteers are always needed to help with a wide variety of tasks within our hospitals. If you would like more information about hospital volunteers and the work they do, please contact the voluntary services co-ordinator.
League of Friends
All our hospitals are supported by active members of the Leagues of Friends, who have volunteers working in the hospital, and who also raise funds to be spent in the hospitals.
If you are interested in joining one of the Leagues, please contact the friends’ secretary.
Under NHS guidelines hospital staff are not allowed to accept money on behalf of the trust.
Any donations are gratefully received and anyone wishing to make a donation should either contact the hospital cashier or send a cheque to the cashier's office made payable to 'East Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust Charitable Fund'.
Please indicate if the donation is to be for the benefit of an individual hospital or a particular ward or department. The trust encourages donations to be made under the 'Gift Aid' scheme which allows it to recover income tax paid by the donor.
The East Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust Charitable Fund is a charity registered with the Charity Commissioners for England and Wales - Registered Charity 1058599. The charitable fund exists for the benefit of staff and patients, including the provision of medical equipment that would not be otherwise available.
How to find us
The Ridge, St. Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex. TN37 7RD.
Eastbourne District General Hospital
Kings Drive, Eastbourne, East Sussex. BN21 2UD.
For information about local bus services, contact Traveline on 0870 608 2 608 or visit www.traveline.org.uk
Parking areas for patients are sign-posted and a Pay and Display parking system operates. Discounted tickets for five, seven, 14 and 28 day periods can be purchased from the parking booth located in the main visitors car parks.
Parking is free for holders of blue (car) badges with spaces clearly designated in the main parking zones.