During your stay

This page provides information about what you can expect during your inpatient stay at one of our hospitals.

After you have checked in at the ward reception, one of the ward team will get you settled, tell you where things are, and who your main doctor will be. If you need help or assistance to make your stay more comfortable, please speak to any member of staff. Below is information about what to expect and facilities available to make your stay easier and more comfortable.

Our CARE Campaign

Our CARE campaign is committed to delivering the fundamentals of care by putting patients at the heart of everything we do.

  • Communicate with compassion
    We listen and respond to your needs, keeping you involved and informed at every step.
  • Assist with toileting, ensuring dignity
    We will make sure your toileting needs are responded to quickly and in a dignified way.
  • Relieve pain effectively
    We will ask you about your pain and do all we can to control your pain needs well.
  • Encourage adequate nutrition
    We will help you with your meal when needed and make sure your mealtime is undisturbed.

Personal belongings while you’re in hospital

When you’re admitted, it’s a good idea to ask a friend or relative to take home anything you won’t need while you’re here, and, because wards can be very busy, do take special care of things like glasses, hearing­ aids and dentures.

You’ll also need to make your own arrangements for clothes and laundry, and bear in mind we can only be responsible for property which is handed in for safe keeping.

Electronic devices, phones and cameras

We ask that you are considerate in your use of mobile phones, laptops and other electronic devices on wards and in clinical areas. They can sometimes affect medical equipment, so if you’re ever asked by a member of staff to turn them off, please do.

Please consider other patients and keep noise to a minimum by:

  • texting instead of calling,
  • using earphones to listen to music or videos.

Please remember you’re not allowed to use a camera or recording equipment of any kind without the express permission from the person you are taking the image of, otherwise you could be breaching the Data Protection Act and the Human Rights Act.

Wi-Fi, hospital radio, and bedside entertainment

All three of our hospitals have free Wi-Fi which is available in main public areas. This may not be available in all wards. Simply search NHS Wi-Fi in your settings.

You can also listen to our very own radio station, CHBN (Community & Hospital Broadcasting Network). You’ll find a lively mix of music, chat and features, 24 hours a day. We cater for all age groups and tastes of music with an extensive collection of audio in our library. You can find out more about CHBN, and how to listen in, on the CHBN website.

We also have bedside entertainment services available on our wards, and this varies depending on which hospital you are staying in. For more information, please visit the facilities section of the relevant hospital page:

Your visitors

For more information about visiting please see our latest visiting guidance:

Your safety

For as long as you’re here it’s our job to make sure you are safe. We monitor and improve safety on a continuous basis. You can read more about our quality and safety standards here.

Fire procedure for patients and visitors

All staff are trained in fire and evacuation procedures. In the unlikely event of a fire, nursing staff will take control and let you know what needs to happen. In the event of any kind of emergency, we ask that patients and visitors wait to be told what to do by staff. Please also bear in mind that the fire alarms are routinely tested. We will let you know if that will be happening.

Personal safety

We aim to provide a safe and welcoming environment. We don’t tolerate anti­social behaviour, violence or discrimination of any kind and, if necessary, we’ll take appropriate action. If something happens which makes you feel anything less than safe or welcome, please tell a member of staff straight away.

Simple steps to keep you safe during your hospital stay

You may be feeling anxious about being in hospital but keeping you safe and well is a priority for the staff looking after you. There are also some simple things you can do to help keep yourself safe during your hospital stay, such as asking for help when needed, protecting yourself from slips and falls and helping to prevent blood clots.

Please see the NHS England videos and leaflets for more information.

Smoking and alcohol

We operate a no­-smoking policy, inside the hospital buildings, at our entrances or anywhere on our sites, including the car parks. This includes e­-cigarettes.

The single biggest thing you can do to improve your health is stop smoking. If stopping while you’re here sounds like it’s going to be hard, ask a doctor or nurse about nicotine replacement therapy. When you go home we’ll let you know about your local Stop Smoking Service – Cornwall. Using it makes you four times more likely to quit than by trying on your own.

We can’t let patients drink alcohol, either, as it can affect your treatment.

Your treatment

We want you to understand what we’re doing to help you get better, as well as why and how we’re doing it. All that information, as well as how you can help us, is in this section.

Consent to treatment

Your doctor, nurse or other health professional will tell you all about your treatment. If it involves an operation or certain other procedures, they’ll ask you to sign a consent form. It is vital that you understand your doctor or nurse so if you’re unsure on anything, please ask them to explain or repeat any information.

If you change your mind before the procedure, you can withdraw that consent, even after signing. Remember: it’s your decision and your consent. Ask as many questions as you like, and remember to tell the healthcare team about any concerns, or about any medication, allergies or past history which might affect your general health.


It’s best, if you can, to bring your usual medicines with you into hospital, even if they’re over-the­-counter or complementary. The fuller the medication history we have, the easier it is to give you the best treatment. We’ll store your own medication in your bedside locker and, if suitable and with your permission, we might give you this while you’re here, so you’re taking something familiar.

Pharmacy will let you have anything new or different you might need, and make sure you’ve got a good supply to take home. A pharmacist and pharmacy technician will usually visit the ward on weekdays. Their job is to make sure your drug treatment is safe and effective, and they’ll:

  • make sure that we have an accurate list of the medicines you take at home
  • make sure that your prescription chart is clear
  • check whether any changes to your medicines are intended
  • advise the doctors and nurses about your drug therapy
  • answer any questions about your medicines, including any side­ effects

Even when the pharmacy department is closed, there’s an on­-call pharmacist to provide emergency advice and supply.

Privacy and dignity

Our aim is to provide you with high quality care and treatment that is safe, effective, and respects your privacy and dignity. This includes making sure you don’t have to share accommodation, toilets, or washing facilities with patients of the opposite sex. We’re committed to providing every patient with same­-sex sleeping bays, bathrooms, and toilet facilities.

In exceptional cases, a patient of the opposite sex who needs very specialised or urgent care might take priority. If this happens, we’ll make sure the time a patient spends in this environment is kept to an absolute minimum and extra care is taken to protect the patient’s privacy and dignity.

We ask all our patients to respect the privacy and dignity of others, and expect you to show the kind of respect to others as you’d expect yourself, particularly when using toilets and washing facilities. If you have any concerns, please let us know.

Read more about our care promise to all of our patients in our Your Care section.

Preventing infection

We take the prevention of infection very seriously. Our infection prevention team provides a 24­-hour advice and guidance service.


Royal Cornwall Hospitals is an active research site. This means that the Trust is constantly involved in research into a variety of conditions.

We carry out research to find better ways to treat or look after people. There are lots of different kinds of research: some projects are questionnaires about your experiences, some look at how effective your treatment is and others might be to assess new treatments, drugs or devices such as pacemakers.

While you’re being treated at Royal Cornwall Hospitals, a nurse or doctor might ask you about taking part in a research study.

Whatever type it is, it will have been reviewed by an external independent group to make sure it’s as safe as possible and the right kind of study for patients in Cornwall. They’ll give you as much information as you need to help you make an informed decision, and we would always encourage you to talk it over with family, friends or anyone else you choose. Taking part in research is entirely your choice, and your decision will never affect the quality of care you receive.

If you’d like to know more, or see if there’s any research you might be suitable for, please visit our dedicated research section. Feel free to ask your nurse or doctor when you’re here, or call the Senior Research Nurse on 07917 237357.

Meals and refreshments

We have a dedicated team of staff working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to make sure you receive quality, nutritious meals during your stay with us.

As you’d expect, we normally serve three meals a day and there’s always a choice, including a vegetarian option. We also cater for various other diets: vegan, kosher, gluten­-free, etc. It’s best if you can tell us about any special diet at least 24 hours before you come in, but don’t worry if that’s not possible, just tell us as soon as you can.

Depending on your condition, it might be that your doctor or dietitian wants us to arrange a special diet for you.

If you’re due for an operation or a test, you might not be allowed to eat or drink beforehand, or you might need a special diet. If so, the nursing staff will talk to you about it.

Please also check with them before you have any food or drink that’s been brought in for you, or bought in the hospital.

We work to strict Food Health Regulations so we can’t microwave or reheat anything for you.

For any other help with meals, special cutlery, or anything else, just ask the nursing staff. We use red trays to indicate when our patients need some extra help. We’re always happy to help you with eating and drinking if you need some assistance.

We serve drinks with meals as well as at other times, and hot drinks in the evening. If anything makes you miss a meal, we’ll make sure you get a snack box to keep you going.

Find out more about our commitment to providing quality, nutritious food on our quality and safety standards page.

Help and assistance during your stay

The General Office

The general office can help you if you are eligible and need advice on claiming back your travel expenses. They can also look after cash and valuables during your stay, lost property, charity donations, and help with general travel advice. For more information, please visit the facilities section of the hospital you are staying in:

Do you have hearing difficulties?

We have amplifying equipment that will help you hear better. Just ask any member of staff.

Do you need alternative versions of leaflets or information?

If you need any booklets or information leaflets you are given during your stay in large print, braille, audio format, or in another language, please ask your nurse or contact the General Office on 01872 252690 or 01872 252892.

Do you need an interpreter?

If you need an interpreter to help you talk to doctors and nurses, ask a relative or friend to tell the nurses as soon as possible. We will do our best to provide an interpreter service.

Spiritual, religious and cultural needs

We do our best to respect your spiritual, religious and cultural beliefs. Our Spiritual and Pastoral Care Team visits wards regularly, and Chaplains are also available on call. Just ask anyone working on the ward. The team is mainly Christian but can help with your spiritual care regardless of your faith, and whether you have one or not.

The hospital chapels are open to all at each of our hospitals and staff can let you know exactly how to find them. If you’re at Royal Cornwall Hospital and would rather not use the main chapel, we have prayer and quiet rooms available. You’ll find leaflets outside the chapels and, in your locker, a copy of the New Testament and Psalms provided by the Gideons. The chaplaincy office also keeps some texts for the major world faiths and will happily lend them on request.

Let us know if you’d like us to contact your own priest, minister or faith community leader, or if there’s anything you feel we should know when providing your care (whether it’s to do with prayer, diet, use of blood products, washing / ablution, etc.)

Sending and receiving post

Wards receive post every day. Please ask people to make sure your full name and ward are clearly written, along with the full hospital address. This will help us ensure your mail gets to you.

There are daily Royal Mail collections from all hospitals. Ward staff will take your stamped mail and post it for you.

There is also a post box at the main Trelawny Wing entrance if you are staying at the Royal Cornwall Hospital.

Page last reviewed: 27 April 2023

Alert: Infected Blood Products Inquiry

If you are concerned following news coverage of the Infected Blood Products Inquiry, you can find help and support on the NHS website: Infected blood support (nhs.uk)

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