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Patients & visitors

Advice for inpatients

A patient and doctorInpatients are patients who stay at the hospital for one or more night, whether for surgery, ongoing treatment or following an emergency admission.

The information below and to the right provides a guide on what to bring and what to expect when you come into hospital, as well as practical information about our facilities.

What to do when you arrive

If you are coming in for a hospital stay, please go directly to the ward on your admission letter, or visit main reception at entrance 10 and ask for directions to your ward.

Please report to the ward reception or office on arrival, where you will be welcomed by a member of staff, who will show you around and help you settle in. Please ask the staff if you have any particular worries.

What to bring with you

  • Your admission letter or card.
  • Any letters from your GP, district nurse, physiotherapist or other health worker.
  • Bring all your medicines with you and give them to the nurse in charge. It is important that your hospital doctor knows about any medicines you are already taking. Please also bring special cards, such as diabetic or steroid.
  • Toiletries, night clothes, dressing gown, slippers and a towel.
  • Money for incidentals, refreshments, prescriptions, car parking.

Please avoid bringing valuables or large amounts of cash with you, as the hospital cannot accept responsibility for personal belongings. You will have your own bedside locker for your personal belongings but these are not lockable. If bringing valuables is unavoidable we do have a safe to deposit items and money in. However, this facility is not available at weekends.

About your hospital stay

Generally, you will be admitted to a ward that deals with your particular condition. If by chance a bed on the preferred ward is not available, we feel the priority is to get you into hospital rather than cancel your admission. Visit our A-Z of wards for more information about the ward you are staying on.

In some circumstances or emergencies you may be asked to move beds or even wards. We do everything we can to avoid such occurrences and assure you that your own care and best interests would never be compromised.

Our wards are equipped to ensure that patients who are admitted to our hospitals will only share the room where they sleep with members of the same sex, and same-sex toilets and bathrooms will be close to their bed area. Sharing with members of the opposite sex will only happen when clinically necessary. Read our declaration on single sex accommodation for more information.

Staff will complete a hospital grab sheet to provide our healthcare professionals with information about you as an individual.

Hospital staff

The main staff you will meet will during your hospital stay will be doctors, nurses, therapists and portering staff who are part of the team caring for you. All staff wear a picture identification badge stating their name and their job. If they are not wearing one don’t be embarrassed about asking them who they are and check with a member of staff known to you. Other staff have different colour uniforms indicating their job or, with nurses, their seniority.

Do ask the doctors and nurses questions as you see them or if you have things that are worrying you, ask to see them to discuss your concerns. Write a list if it helps. Our Health Information Centre can also provide information about your condition or treatment.

making your stay with us saferMaking your stay with us safer

We've prepared a short leaflet giving information on simple ways you can make your stay with us safer. You can also find the information in this brief film. You can also view it on your bedside television - ask a member of ward staff if you need any help.


Friends and family

Visiting times and restrictions on who can visit may vary depending on the ward you are in. Click here for advice on visiting patients.

We encourage family members to be part of the helping team if it is what you wish. Some close family or friends may help in some aspects of your care, as you may feel more comfortable with them. This can range from help with meals, washing, dressing, walking or more specific assistance, especially if this support will be given from your family once at home. Hospital volunteers will be pleased to visit patients who do not have regular visitors. Please ask staff for advice about this.

Each ward or department has their own direct dial number or you can telephone the main hospital switchboard  and ask to be put through. Click here for our A-Z of wards, including contact details. It would be very helpful if you could arrange for one member of your family to act as the main contact person who will keep the rest of your friends and family informed. Please let us know if there is anyone you do not wish to be informed.


You may be having an operation or treatment or investigation that requires you to sign a consent form. Before signing, the doctor will explain what is going to happen. Remember to ask questions if you are not sure or do not understand


Whilst you are here, your hospital doctor will review any medicines you have been taking. It is sometimes necessary for staff to continue using your own medicines for you until our pharmacy has dispensed a new supply. If any of your own medicines are discontinued by the hospital doctor, our pharmacy is able to safely dispose of them on your behalf.

Make sure you understand about the medicines you take home at the end of your stay. If you are not clear, ask to speak to one of our pharmacists.

If you are unsure about your medicines once you are at home, you can call our pharmacy department. You'll need to tell them your name, the ward you were on, the date you went home and have the medicines with you when you call. The pharmacy department contact telephone number is 01202 442127.

How long will I be in hospital?

You will have been given an indication of how long your stay is likely to be. This may change as your treatment and care progress, however, so please ask your nurse or doctor if they feel your planned day for going home has, or is likely to change.

If drugs are needed, they will be ordered from our pharmacy for you to take with you and any clinic appointments can usually be made fairly quickly by phone or sent on to you afterwards.

Going home

Often the consultant in charge of your care will assess you when he or she sees you on their regular ward round and will let you know when you can go home.

If medicine is needed you will be given a two-week supply as a minimum (sometimes less for antibiotics) for which there are no prescription charges. If you need further medication please see your GP. You may also be given a letter to take to your GP, and your consultant will also write to your GP with information about your hospital stay.

You may need a sick certificate for your time in hospital, so please check with a member of staff.

Once you have been given an indication of when you will be going home, you may wish to arrange for clothes to be brought in that are comfortable to travel in. Please make sure that any hospital property such as towels, library books are not accidentally taken home.

We, along with other local hospitals, the primary care trust and local councils, have signed up to a set of quality standards to ensure the safe, effective and timely transfer of patients from hospital settings. You can read these standards here.

Changing your admission date

Please let us know as soon as possible if you are unable to keep your appointment so we can offer it to another patient.  Call the number on your appointment letter or dial:

Switchboard: 01202 665511

Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Longfleet Road, Poole, Dorset BH15 2JB. Tel: 01202 665511

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