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Your stay in hospital

If you are coming into hospital for a planned operation, please read our advice on what to expect in terms of keeping yourself, your loved ones and our staff safe from coronavirus and other infectious diseases. 

We want to do everything we can to make your hospital stay as easy and pleasant as possible. If you have any questions about your hospital stay that are not answered on this website, please do not hesitate to telephone or e-mail us. We will be pleased to help you.

What to bring with you

We will send you a letter before your admission date explaining what you will need to do on the day you are booked to come into hospital.

You should bring:

  • night wear

  • non-slip slippers

  • dressing gown

  • day clothes and shoes - this will help you recover faster

  • toiletries (e.g. soap, flannel, brush, comb, tissues, toothpaste, toothbrush and cleansing wipes)

  • any medicines, tablets or inhalers you normally use

  • any glasses, dentures or hearing or walking aids you normally use

  • a small amount of change for newspapers, telephone calls, etc. (mobile phones cannot be used in many parts of the hospital as they can interfere with the efficient working of some medical equipment). 

There will be a cabinet by your bed where you can keep these things. If you want to bring any valuables with you, your named nurse will arrange for their safekeeping elsewhere on the ward.

Download our useful checklist for what to bring with you into hospital

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What to expect at the hospital

Our nurses will welcome you to the ward and help settle you in. They will ask you to confirm your personal details, such as your name and address, your GP and contact details for your next of kin.

You will need to tell your nurse if you are following a special diet and about any medication you are taking so these can be continued during your stay.

Your doctor will also visit you before starting your treatment. Your doctor will explain your treatment to you. If there is anything that you do not understand, or would like to discuss further, please ask your doctor or nurse.

If you need to have surgery or an anaesthetic, your doctor will explain this too and you will be asked to sign a form to say that you agree to the procedure taking place.

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Life on the ward


Most of our wards are arranged in single sex bays of four to eight beds.

Your cubicle will have its own curtain, which can be closed if you would like some privacy.


You will be offered three meals a day:


A selection of cereals, fruit juice, yoghurts, porridge and fresh fruit, tea or coffee and fruit juice.


A main meal, a pudding and tea, coffee or fruit juice.


A selection of freshly made sandwiches, soups and puddings and tea or coffee.

Please take a look at our menu options for full details >

Please let your ward housekeeper or member of the ward team know if you have any special dietary requirements.

Protected mealtimes

This is a period of time over lunch and supper, when all activities, on the wards will stop. The nurses, catering staff and volunteers will be available to help serve the food and give assistance to patients who may need help. This will prevent unnecessary interruptions to mealtimes.

Find out more about protected meal times >

Trolley Service

Our volunteers run a trolley library service and bring a newspaper and confectionery trolley to the ward, should you want to buy them.


East Kent Hospitals is a smoke-free Trust. This means that for the good of the health of our patients, visitors and staff, no smoking is allowed in the hospital grounds or buildings. If you are concerned about not smoking for a length of time, please talk to the nursing staff who can arrange for you to have advice and support from a stop smoking advisor.


Each ward has its own visiting hours, which are there to ensure you have time to rest, eat or take part in rehabilitation activities, e.g physiotherapy, without being disturbed.

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Going home

You will normally be required to make your own arrangements for transport home, unless there are medical reasons why this is not possible.

On your planned discharge day you will be asked to vacate your bed in the morning so we can prepare it for another patient. Each of our hospitals has a discharge lounge so you can wait in comfort for a friend, relative or volunteer driver to collect you if necessary.

We run a Patient Transport Service and volunteer driver service for patients who are unable to make their own way home.

You may need some extra support in place before going home, such as:

  • additional support and/or assessment in your own home; or 
  • transferring to a nurse and therapist led unit at another east Kent hospital for a period of assessment and/or rehabilitation; or 
  • a period of assessment and/or rehabilitation in a community setting (for example a community hospital, intermediate care centre, a care home facility). 

If so, we will talk to you about what support we think you might need and why. 

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