Your stay in hospital

Before you come into hospital

If you have been booked to come into hospital for treatment, this date will be shown on your letter. Please contact the ward on the planned day of admission to confirm time of admission. To make your stay more comfortable, there are a number of things you can do before you come in.

Organising your stay

If possible, please ask a family member or carer to bring you to hospital. They can wait while you are being admitted and take home any clothes or personal items you won’t need during your stay.

Pensions and benefits

Most Social Security benefits are reduced while you are in hospital, so once you receive a date to come in, you should tell the appropriate office at the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety.

You may be entitled to disability benefits or additional benefits after you are discharged. If you need to discuss your personal circumstances with social workers, ward staff can make a referral for you.

Home security

If you live alone, ask someone to keep an eye on your property.

What to bring

We would advise you to leave all valuables, particularly jewellery, at home. Too many personal belongings are difficult to store and make it difficult to keep the area around your bed clean.

When you are coming to stay in hospital it will be useful to bring the following with you:

  • Your admission letter as this contains specific instructions about your admission and treatment. Please read this carefully before you come to hospital
    • All your current medication in their original containers
    • Any other written information you have been given by your GP
    • Personal toiletries such as soap, flannel, toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, shaving equipment and tissues
    • Two towels
    • Two nightdresses/pyjamas, a dressing gown and slippers
    • Glasses/contact lens/hearing aids (if applicable)
    • A small amount of money for buying items such as newspapers
    • Any mobility aids such as a walking stick or frame
    • Book/magazine
    • A favourite toy for a child.

Please inform nursing staff if you have a permanent pacemaker or implantable defibrillator and bring the device settings in to hospital with you.

Please also mark personal property with your name, if possible, so that it can be easily identified. Do not bring in any valuables, large amounts of money or jewellery. The Trust accepts no liability for any loss, damage or theft of any property belonging to a patient/client, except when the property has been deposited for safekeeping.


When you are admitted to hospital you will be asked for the information below:

  • Full name
  • Address and postcode
  • Date of birth
  • Telephone number
  • GP details

Other details may also be needed including ethnic origin, religion, next of kin, carer details (if applicable), National Insurance Number, Pension Book Number (if applicable), or Social Security Number (if applicable).

Information on special circumstances may also be asked such as whether you require any special assistance, interpretation services, or special patient transport, for example.

Butterfly Scheme

Antrim Area Hospital has a ‘Butterfly Scheme’, an opt in scheme for people with dementia and their carers to have a Butterfly Symbol displayed to alert staff that they require a dementia friendly approach. Anyone interested in the scheme should ask staff for details.

All staff who come into contact with dementia patients, including hospital porters, housekeeping and professional care staff, are trained in the scheme so that the interaction skills and support provided to the person with Dementia is more consistent. For more information on the Scheme, please visit

Ward information

Most wards have four or six bedded bays.  The Trust tries to ensure that patients are cared for in single gender bays.  Unfortunately, due to the environmental design of many of the wards and the unpredicted nature of emergency admissions, this is not always possible.  If it is the case that the ward bays have to be of mixed gender, the nursing staff will screen/partially screen off the area to help provide privacy.

Many of our wards have single room accommodation.  Admission to single rooms will be dependent on clinical need and bed availability.

There are also occasions when some patients have to move between wards for a numbers of reasons such as infection control.  The nurse in charge on your ward is responsible for this and will tell you if you have to move and the reasons for this.


The hospital day starts early and bedtime is usually sooner than at home.  Rest is however a very important part of your treatment.

Hospital meals

During your stay you can expect a choice of nutritional dishes on a menu suitable for your diet, from our catering services.  A Catering Manual is available within each ward which provides full details of the Catering Service operation and the standards which you can expect during your stay in the hospital. It also provides details of the feedback system in place, as your comments and suggestions are valued and assist us in making changes and improvements to the service. Please feel free to speak to one of the nursing team who will be happy to facilitate access to the Catering Manual.

If you need a special diet for religious or medical reasons just let the ward staff know. We also have dieticians who will ensure any diets contain the right foods and are prepared in the correct way.

Meals, drinks and light snacks are also served throughout the day.

Some wards operate a protected meal time period, which allows patients to enjoy their meals without any interruptions.

Please ensure that you wash your hands / use a hand wipe before eating a meal.

Who will care for you while in hospital?

The ward manager and nursing staff are responsible for general nursing care.  Please feel free to speak to them if you have a problem.  If they cannot deal with it personally they will contact the person who will be able to help you.

You will also be treated by a consultant/doctor who will ask for your medical history. Please give as much information as you can as all details are very important.  If you want to know anything about your illness, please ask the doctor.  Relatives may arrange an interview with the consultant by speaking to the ward manager or senior nurse, provided this is acceptable to the patient.

Other professional staff may also visit you during your stay in hospital such as dieticians, social workers or physiotherapists.  Each is a key member of the team responsible for your care and treatment.

Gifts for patients

Friends and relatives are asked not to send or bring in flowers or unnecessary items such as potted plants, cuddly toys, multiple bottles or outdoor clothing.  Perishable food should not be brought into the hospital for patient’s consumption.

Violence against staff policy

The Trust operates a zero tolerance on abuse of staff policy  The Trust is committed to the creation of a culture and environment within which employees, in the discharge of their duty of care to patients and clients, may undertake their duties with the least possible fear of abuse or violence. Abuse or violence towards staff will not be tolerated.

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