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Going into and leaving hospital

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 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 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 your medication you are taking - you’ll 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 or 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.


View Northampton General Hospital's 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 support from Volunteer Dementia Buddies service.  

How the buddies service can help

There are a small number of volunteers who spend time on the wards to provide social stimulation, activities, and basis support for our patients with dementia.

They are given dementia awareness level 1 training by the dementia liaison nurse and are supported by the volunteer’s manager as required.

How to access this service

The volunteer buddies service 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 a member of ward staff.

If you would like to volunteer

The hospital is always looking for more volunteers so if you are interested and can spare a minimum of 3 hours a week, please contact 01604 532159 for more information or find out more about dementia care on the Northampton General Hospital website.

Last updated 13 November 2023