Whatever brings you to us, and however long your stay, we want you to feel as comfortable as possible. This section includes information to help you prepare for your stay, settle you in to the ward, how we care for you, services we provide and going home.
The right care for you
We want to make your stay in hospital as comfortable as possible and our aim is to provide you with care which answers your individual needs and preferences.
Your involvement in your own care not only helps to make your stay in hospital better, it helps us to learn and adapt our services for the benefit of everyone.
We welcome your views. Your feedback helps us understand what we’re doing well, and what we could be doing better. We use this information to give all our patients the best care possible.
If there’s anything further you need to know before you’re admitted, please contact us on the telephone number on your admission letter or see our ward information.
Free NHS Wi-Fi
When in our hospital's you can connect to ‘NHS Wi-Fi’ from your chosen personal device (e.g. smartphone, tablet, laptop) to access the internet using our free patient and visitor Wi-Fi service.
Preparing for your visit
Please follow the instructions in your admission letter. It will tell you the date and time of your admission, the name of your ward, your consultant and any special instructions you may need to follow (such as not eating or drinking, or about any drugs you may be taking).
If you’re unwell or cannot make the date given, please call the hospital as soon as possible so we can offer this time to another patient.
What should I bring?
You will need:
- Warm nightwear, dressing gown, slippers, personal toiletries
- Some hand wipes for your personal use
- Your own day clothes for comfort
- Hand towel (ideally labelled with your name)
- Any mobility aids / hearing aids (and chargers or spare batteries)
- Mobile phone/ chargers
- Money for phone calls, TV and newspapers
- Something to help you pass the time such as a book, magazine or puzzles
- Toiletries – To help prevent infections, please do not share toiletries with other patients when you are here.
- Appropriate footwear for walking
- Laundry bags
- Relevant documents e.g. advance directives
- A pen and paper - it may be useful for you to make notes about anything the doctor says in the clinic so you can be clear about what has been discussed later
- Medicines (see below)
There is limited storage space in the bedside locker and on the wards. Please bring as few personal belongings with you as possible and, for your own security, leave valuables at home. We cannot be responsible for any losses.
Please bring all your medicines, a current repeat prescription from your GP and any relevant information about your treatment.
Please tell the ward staff about all medicines you use (including inhalers, injections, creams or patches).
Please ask if you wish to take your own medicines during your stay. Pharmacists visit the wards regularly and can help with any medicine queries.
On the day of admission
Leave plenty of time to travel to the hospital and find your clinic. If you’re not sure where to go, please ask at the reception desk in the main reception.
If you need information, a wheelchair or any other help when you arrive, please ask – our staff are here to help.
What happens when I arrive?
When you arrive, you will be given more information about your ward.
You will be seen either by the consultant or by one of their team.
You will be asked about your previous medical history, so it's a good idea to make short notes on any information you think is helpful before you come to clinic. You should include a list of the medication you are currently taking. This includes anything prescribed by your GP, medicines bought over the counter at a pharmacy, herbal and homeopathic remedies. You may also find it useful to make a note of any questions you want to ask.
Do take this opportunity to ask any questions that you or your family might have about your stay.
With a few exceptions (beds in intensive care and high dependency) you will be nursed in a single sex bay and there are separate bathroom facilities for men and women.
When you’re admitted, you’ll be given a wrist band. The wrist band will include all essential information about you that our staff need. It’s essential that you wear this throughout your stay; all patients, including babies and older people, must wear a wrist band. The wrist band ensures that staff can identify you correctly and give you the right care.
If your wrist band becomes uncomfortable or falls off, please tell a member of staff who will get you a new one. If you are not given a wrist band when you’re admitted, please ask a member of staff for one.
Your name will also be displayed on the ward's white board at the nurse's station. This is so we can see at a glance which bed you are in and which consultant is treating you. If you do not want your name displayed please notify the nurse in charge of your care.
What if I have special requirements?
If you have any special requirements such as a disability, sight or hearing impairment, speech impairment or cultural requirements, please tell the nurse looking after you. Your nurse will make sure your nursing team is aware of your specific requirements and will record this in your notes.
The hospital has access to a translation service, British Sign Language, Deaf/Blind Manual, Visual Frame Signing and also has a Visual Impairment Assistance Service.
Who will look after me?
During your time on the ward, your treatment will be undertaken by a team of doctors under the direction of your consultant.
The ward manager, who wears the dark blue uniform, has 24 hour responsibility for the ward and manages the team of nurses who will be responsible for your daily care.
Modern matrons, who wear black and red uniforms, are responsible for making sure the ward and hospital environment are acceptable and that our care meets your needs.
Both the ward manager and the modern matron are happy to talk to you about any aspect of your care that you want to discuss.
Depending on what treatment you require, you may also be looked after by healthcare assistants, clinical nurse specialists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists and dieticians.
Consider whether you need a chaperone.
Addenbrooke's is a teaching hospital which means that nurses, doctors and other health workers carry out part of their training here. During your stay you may be asked if you would be willing to take part in a teaching session attended by medical students.
As a patient you play a very important part in the teaching work of the hospital, but if you feel that you do not want to take part in this, we will respect your wishes. Please let the doctor or the nurse in charge of your care know as soon as possible.
Will my treatment be explained to me?
The clinical team caring for you will review your care daily and ensure your care plan is updated. Where possible you, and your family/carers, will be involved in these reviews.
Before you undergo any treatment one of the team caring for you will explain what is involved, the risks, benefits and alternatives and ask you to give your consent.
Sometimes you can just give verbal agreement. If the treatment or procedure is complex, has significant side-effects or complications or involves sedation or anaesthesia, you will be asked to sign a consent form.
This is your opportunity to ask any questions you have about your treatment and discuss anything that may be worrying you.
Help us keep you safe
To help us keep you and other patients safe at the hospital please take note of the following important points:
- It is essential to use the alcohol hand rub when entering or leaving a ward. Please ask your visitors to do so too.
- Always wash and dry your hands after visiting the toilet and before you eat.
- Remind staff about hand washing if they forget (they may use alcohol hand rub nearby as this efficiently cleans hands as an alternative) - don't worry they won't be offended.
- Do not touch or fiddle with your wound or any device that is in your arm/leg/bladder or other body cavity, for example a drip or catheter.
Managing smoking as an inpatient
Our hospitals are a no smoking sites. If you are a smoker and have a planned operation this is a good time to stop smoking and could really help your recovery.
The best thing you can do is contact your local stop smoking service or your GP in advance of your admission and ask for Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) to use during your hospital stay. This will mean that you won’t crave for cigarettes during your stay and you can start using the product before you arrive if you wish.
If you have an unplanned or emergency admission, you can ask any nurse or doctor to give you NRT to help with your nicotine withdrawal symptoms and you will be offered support in order to comply with our smoke-free policy.
Support and advice
If you’re thinking about giving up smoking, there’s a lot of support available to you:
What happens if I am concerned about my care?
If you or your relatives are unhappy with any aspect of your care or the service you receive while you are staying in the hospital, please speak to a member of the ward staff as soon as possible. Very often problems can be sorted out straight away.
If you feel they cannot help you or you are not comfortable talking to them, please contact PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Service).
Ask ward staff for the PALS leaflet which will give you more detailed information.
We’ll also give you information about further complaints procedures. We hope that you will not have cause to complain about your treatment or care, but if you do we want to know about it so that we can improve our services.
Preparing to leave hospital
We will discuss discharge plans with you on your admission and on each day that you're in hospital.
If you, your relatives or carers have any questions about leaving hospital please ask the ward staff. If you need to make any special arrangements before you leave please let us know.
Once the decision has been taken that you are clinically fit and ready to leave you will not be able to remain. It’s not good for patients to remain in hospital past this date and a prolonged stay can make recovery slower.
The team who have been caring for you will make sure any health or personal care that you need will be ready to start. If there is a delay in the start of this care, you may be required to move to an interim placement as a short-term measure.
A social worker or member of the hospital team will talk to you about your care needs when you leave hospital and explain the assessment options available to you. They will assist you to make the right decisions about your care.
Please read this before you are due to be admitted to hospital:
Contact the discharge team on: 01223 586951
Alternatively call switchboard on: 01223 245151 / 01223 805000 and ask for the relevant ward.
If you are going home via patient transport, please make sure that prior to your discharge your family/friends collect your belongings as the ambulance is only able to take one small bag per patient, plus your discharge medicines.
On the day of discharge
We aim to have you ready to leave hospital before lunch on your day of discharge.
When you leave, please ensure you have all your belongings including any valuables from the hospital safe. Have a bag and suitable outdoor wear ready to go home.
We will give you:
- A discharge letter: This will detailing your care and treatment.
- Medications: We will confirm whether you need any medications to take home and provide sufficient supplies if needed. We will explain your medications to you, identify potential side effects and discuss with you how to obtain further supplies. For further information about your medications please call the Patient Medications Helpline on 01223 274 616 (open Monday to Friday between 9.00am and 5.00pm)
- Equipment: We may lend you hospital equipment to use at home. When you no longer need it, please return it (as directed) so we can use it for other patients.
We may ask you to vacate your bed so it can be prepared for another patient. If so, you can wait in our discharge lounge on ward J3, until you’re ready to leave.
Remember to return your bedside locker key and ensure you have any medications or equipment you may need.
If you need a follow-up appointment, we will make this before you leave or write to you.
Help after you leave
During your stay you may speak to a social worker, care manager, discharge planning specialist nurse, dietitian or therapist. Together we help plan ongoing support for you on your discharge from hospital.