During your stay

Each ward has its own routine and the staff will be happy to answer any questions you have and to discuss any concerns. There are some things about your stay in hospital which will probably apply no matter which ward you are on.


Please tell your named nurse if you have any special dietary requirements. Special menus are available to cater for vegetarian and cultural needs. You should complete the menu sheet on the day you arrive. It will be your choice for lunch and supper the next day.

Three meals are served each day – breakfast, lunch and supper. Tea and coffee are available throughout the day. Any member of staff or visitor to the hospital who is on a ward or entering a ward at lunchtime will be asked to return when lunch is over—unless their attendance is clinically important or if they are assisting patients to eat.

No smoking policy

Both of our hospitals have a strict no smoking policy.

Mobile phones

Mobile phones may be used in the public areas of the hospital. There are signs in areas where you must switch off your phone or put it in airplane/flight mode—please pay attention to these.

Staff and patient identification

All staff should wear an ID badge including their photograph to help you identify who everybody is. When you are admitted you will be given a wristband with your name and patient number. Please check your details are correct and inform ward staff if they are not.

Moving around the hospital

Sometimes you may leave the ward or hospital for tests or investigations. If so, staff will arrange an appropriate escort. You should always let the nurse in charge know if you want to leave the ward or hospital for any reason, and how long you expect to be away. You may be advised by staff not to leave without an escort. This is for your safety and wellbeing.

Infection control

Preventing patients from acquiring infections while they are in hospital is one of our top priorities for keeping patients safe from harm at both Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and West Middlesex University Hospital. 

All patients and visitors should use the alcohol gel provided to clean their hands as they enter and leave any ward or department in the hospital. Using the gel kills germs and helps prevent the spread of infection.

The two most common types of potentially serious infections are MRSA and Clostridium difficile. As part of our infection control measures we both screen patients for these diseases and are required to record all cases of these infections found in patients.

MRSA (Meticillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is a bacteria that often lives harmlessly on the skin—when it lives on the skin without causing infection this is called ‘being colonised’.

Adults admitted to the hospital for planned medical and surgical treatment or as an emergency are screened for the presence of MRSA in their nose (the commonest part of the body where it is found). Where it is found, these patients can then be treated with the aim of eradicating these bacteria as soon as possible, thus putting them – as well as other patients – at reduced risk of acquiring an infection. For further information, download the Simple Guide to MRSA (PDF)

Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) is a bacterium that is present naturally in the gut of around two-thirds of children and 3% of adults. It does not cause any problems in healthy people. However, some antibiotics that are used to treat other health conditions can interfere with the balance of 'good' bacteria in the gut. When this happens, C. difficile bacteria can multiply and produce toxins (poisons), which cause illness such as diarrhoea and fever. At this point, a person is said to be infected with C. difficile.

Reducing your risk of DVT

DVT, or deep vein thrombosis, is a common medical condition which occurs when a blood clot forms in a deep vein, usually in the leg or the pelvis. It can block off or reduce the flow of blood in the vein and cause pain and swelling in the leg. This can result in lifelong disability with painful leg swelling, varicose veins and leg ulcers. Sometimes the blood clot in the leg can break off and travel to the arteries of the lung and cause a pulmonary embolism —this may cause breathing difficulties and chest pain and may be fatal.

A doctor or a nurse will assess your risk of DVT when you are admitted to hospital. If you are considered to be at high risk of developing DVT in hospital, preventative measures may be taken. For example:

  • You may be given medication to stop your blood from clotting too quickly (anticoagulant medication)—this may be given as injections or as tablets
  • Compression stockings to help the blood flow in your veins
  • Calf pumps will sometimes be put on your legs in the operating theatre during your operation to help the blood flow in your veins

Some staff you will meet


On admission to the ward you will be allocated a named nurse who will be responsible for your nursing care during your stay. Other nurses and healthcare assistants will look after you when your named nurse is off duty. At the start of every shift you can expect the nurse who will be looking after you to come and introduce themselves, so you always know who to call. Every ward has a Sister/Charge Nurse who is responsible for the overall management of the area. Don't hesitate to ask to see them if you have any questions or concerns.


The name of your doctor is usually shown above your bed. He/she will visit you regularly, but you will also be seen by other doctors in the team. They will discuss your medical condition and treatment with you. Make a note of any questions you want to ask.


Pharmacists will visit you daily to check that your medication is correct and that you have enough supplies. Please do not hesitate to ask them if you have any questions regarding your medication.

Social workers

Social workers are based in the hospital and can give advice, support or practical help to patients and their families. Please ask your named nurse to refer you. 


Both of our hospitals are teaching hospitals and we have students from Imperial College School of Medicine. We also have trainee nurses and students in other professions such as physiotherapy. We hope you will agree to be seen by these students. You have the right to refuse to take part in teaching work if you wish. Your treatment will not be affected in any way.


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