Staying in hospital
In this page
Arriving on the ward
Consent to treatment
We may ask you to sign a consent form before certain treatments. You can withdraw consent even after signing. Ask any questions you like, and tell us about anything which may affect your general health. We may also ask to use your surplus tissue for medical research: please ask for a leaflet explaining this.
You may be asked to give information about yourself, including 24 hour contact details for the person you would like to be contacted in an emergency, e.g. your wife, husband, partner, friend or relative. If you change your GP or your home address, please contact us so that we can update our records.
Presence of students
Students may be present when you receive treatment: if you would prefer students not to be present, please tell the nurse or the doctor.
When you arrive on your ward we will give you a printed wristband to wear. We use the wristband to check your identity before we give you any treatment. If you notice a mistake on your wristband or are not given one, please tell a member of staff.
You will have a bedside cabinet, but it cannot be locked. Please give anything valuable to your nurse, who will give you a receipt.
Pensions / benefits
If you receive a pension or benefits please ask a friend to deal with these during your stay. If this is not possible, bring your pension book with you and give it to your nurse. Pensions and benefits may be reduced while you are in hospital: please contact the Department for Work and Pensions on 0845 606 0265 if you are in any doubt.
What to bring
Please bring with you all medicines you are taking, in their original containers, and any special cards that give details of your current treatment (e.g. steroid card). Please also bring any non-prescription medicines, ointment or supplements that you use regularly. Put all these things in the green medicines bag (supplied with your admission letter).
- Nightdress / pyjamas, dressing-gown and slippers
If you are having a foot operation, please bring suitable open footwear as your normal slippers may not fit after your operation.
- Comfortable day clothes (if needed, but not too many)
- Toiletries, towels and tissues
- Walking or dressing aid (if used)
- Denture cleaner / bowl (if used)
- Books, magazines, stationery, stamps and pens
- Loose change for newspapers etc.
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What not to bring
- Television / radio
Television is available in all day rooms and all beds have a radio service. Most wards also have a pay-per-view system at the bedside. Pre-payment cards can be bought by credit / debit card from machines near the wards.
Alcohol is not allowed anywhere in the hospital.
- Jewellery or large sums of money
- Electrical appliances
If you bring a hairdryer or electric shaver with you it must be checked by a hospital electrician before you use it to ensure it is safe. A member of the ward staff can arrange this for you.
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Radio Cherwell broadcasts from studios at the Churchill Hospital in Headington and you can listen via the bedside system.
Patients at the Horton General Hospital can listen to Radio Horton. Radio Horton is run by volunteers.
Telephones / mobile phones
Please ask staff on your ward if you may use a mobile phone, and if so, where. Reception varies greatly throughout the hospital buildings.
There are public phones on some wards and a bedside service, provided by Hospedia in the John Radcliffe, Churchill and Horton General hospitals.
Patients at the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre have a personal bedside Premier Easitalk phone. Premier Easitalk pay cards are available from machines in the wards for three £1 coins. Patients do not need a card to receive incoming calls. To speak to a patient at the bedside please dial:
and enter the patient's extension number when prompted. The patient's extension number is located on the patient's bedside phone (on the blue label above the key pad). Calls cost 51p per minute from a UK landline (calls from mobiles and other networks may vary).
We offer free Wi-Fi on our hospital sites: 'OUH-Guest'.
Mail is delivered to the ward each morning. Please ask your relatives and friends to write your name and ward clearly on the envelope.
The address for mail for you is:
- Your name
The address of the hospital (please see 'Hospitals' on this site)
Outgoing mail, appropriately stamped, may be given to ward staff. There are daily Royal Mail collections from the hospital postboxes:
- John Radcliffe Hospital: reception area, Level 2, main hospital, and reception, Level 2, Women's Centre.
- Churchill Hospital: outside Physiotherapy just down from the Porter's Lodge
- Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre: atrium
- Horton General Hospital: please give your mail to staff
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You will be offered three meals a day, and snacks mid morning and afternoon. Snacks are available 24 hours a day, so tell your nurse if you are hungry or have missed a meal. All ward menus include vegetarian, vegan, halal and kosher options.
Your ward will have set visiting times and limits on the number of visitors at each bed at any one time. Please ask your visitors to observe these. If a friend, or a member of your family, has a cold, cough, stomach upset or condition that may be infectious, please ask them not to visit until they are well again. Visitors should use the hand rub provided.
Some wards do not allow flowers for infection control reasons. Please ask your visitors to check first.
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We provide same-sex accommodation where it is clinically safe and appropriate to do so. If the only bed available is in a mixed-sex area we will explain this to you and move you to a same-sex area as soon as possible.
Patients with hearing difficulties
If you wear a hearing aid or have hearing difficulties, please tell the nurses and doctors looking after you.
If your first language is not English and you need an interpreter to help you speak to doctors and nurses, ask a relative or friend to tell your nurse as soon as possible. (Your GP may already have told us that you need an interpreter.)
Cultural and religious needs
While you are in hospital your cultural and religious beliefs will be respected and staff will do their best to respect your wishes. You may also contact our Chaplaincy team.
For the health and safety of all patients and staff, smoking is not allowed within the hospital or its grounds.
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Young Carers' 'Hospital Pack'
The South and Vale Young Carers Project has worked with young carers to develop a 'Hospital Pack'. The pack provides guidance for young carers when they are attending hospital appointments or visiting family members.
The pack contains information about young carers in general, lots of useful hospital information and also some fun things to keep them occupied. It is available from the hospital Patient and Liaison Service (PALS) offices.
For more information about the project please contact:
- Sarah Noviss (Young Carers Development Worker)
South and Vale Carers Centre: 01235 510212
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