Whether you’ve been referred, need to prepare, arriving or currently staying as an In-Patient at the Hospice, below are some Frequently Asked Questions you or your relatives may have. If you have a question that isn’t answered in our In-Patient FAQs, please feel free to call us on 01252 729400
Preparing to come to the In-Patient Unit (IPU)
Q: How will I get to the IPU?
A: This will be discussed with you when an admission to the IPU is offered. If you are able to make your own travel arrangements that will be fine, if not then transport will be arranged for you.
Q: What do I need to bring with me?
A: You will need to bring your own toiletries, nightwear, day clothes, slippers and shoes. It is important that you have things that are familiar to you, so you are also welcome to bring in any photos or personal effects that are important to you.
Please bring with you any medicines, dressings and any other items relating to treatments you may be having at home, such as; tube feeds, feed pumps, pleurX drain bottles and anything else relevant to your care.
If you are unsure about what to bring, please speak to the IPU for further advice. We are very happy for you to use your mobile phone on the ward but please remember to bring your charger, as we do not have these available. Please set this to a quiet setting before arriving at the In-Patient Unit.
We provide mains powered electrical items such as radios, televisions and hair dryers so don’t worry about these. Please try not to bring large amounts of money or valuables with you as we cannot easily store these for you.
Q: Will I be allowed to smoke?
A: Although there is a no smoking policy inside the buildings at Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice, there is a designated smoking area outside in the Hospice gardens for you and your family, but smoking should be restricted to this area.
Arriving at the In-Patient Unit (IPU)
Q: What will happen when I arrive at the In-Patient Unit?
A: On arrival at the Hospice, our friendly Reception staff will show you to the In-Patient Unit.
On admission to the IPU you and your family will be greeted by a nurse and shown to your bed area. Once settled, we will make sure you are comfortable and offer you and your family a cup of tea, coffee or other refreshment. If you have any medications, please give them to the nurse who has welcomed you.
During your first day you will be seen by a doctor and nurse, during which time we will ask you to share with us your thoughts regarding your admission, what you want us to achieve for you whilst you are with us and how we, as a team, can care for your personal needs in the way that is most comfortable for you.
Caring for you in the In-Patient Unit (IPU)
Q: Who will be looking after me during my stay?
A: You will be looked after by the members of the team, which comprises many people, all of whom are specialists in palliative care.
Our medical team is made up of a number of consultants, speciality doctors, and GP assistants who are all specialists in palliative medicine and bring wide-ranging experience from both general practice and hospital medicine backgrounds.
As well as directly caring for patients, one of our other main roles is training junior doctors and medical students, who will form part of the team at any given time. The whole of team are skilled in assessing all symptoms, including wound management, mobility needs, specialist feeding requirements and bladder and bowel management. They are in constant communication regarding your care.
Q: Will I be able to talk to people about my care?
A: You will be seen by a doctor every weekday, and as required at weekends. They will discuss with you your plan of care, symptom management and any other worries or concerns you might have.
Our specialist nurses will listen to your preferences for how you want your personal care managed and will write a personalised care plan specific for your needs. This can be altered according to what you want and need. The team is available to you and your family at anytime, should you wish to discuss any issues, worries or concerns.
Your comfort and well-being are our primary concern and we are always available to talk with you about things outside of your care that you might want to talk about, even something as simple as the weather, if that is what you wish.
Q: What other specialists might I be seen by?
A: As part of the team we have specialist physiotherapists, occupational therapists and social workers who work with you. They consider the physical, psychological and social factors that influence you and aim to help you make the best of your abilities. They will negotiate realistic goals that are important to you.
Q: What happens if I cannot do things for myself?
A: The team is very experienced in caring for people who may have complex symptoms and needs. We have specialist equipment that may enable you to bath or shower, or we can maintain your hygiene needs whilst you remain in bed.
Q: Will I see any other therapists?
A: As part of the team we also have complementary therapists who can offer a range of relaxation and holistic therapies, such as massage, aromatherapy and reflexology. These treatments can help to relieve stress and tension, which may be beneficial for both you and your family. The Hospice chaplain is also available to talk to you should you want to speak to her.
Q: What happens about food and meals?
A: All food is prepared on site and is of a very high standard. We will always do everything in our power to cater for you, our team will discuss our menus with you and offer you an alternative if there is nothing that appeals to you.
Q: What will happen if I cannot eat the food or I am not hungry?
A: We are able to cater for special diets, which we can discuss with you on admission. If you are not hungry when a meal is prepared it can be kept for you until you feel that you would like it, or a fresh meal will always be prepared for you if you want one.
Q: Are there times when I can get refreshments?
A: A refreshment trolley for teas, coffees, soft drinks, cakes and biscuits comes around the IPU in the morning and the afternoon, and there is a Patient Lounge and Coffee Shop on the IPU.
Caring for family and friends at the In-Patient Unit (IPU)
Q: When can my friends and family visit me?
A: There are no strict visiting times in the IPU; we will always try to be flexible to meet the patient’s needs.
It is very helpful, however, if family could avoid the busy times early in the morning and try to arrive after 11am. Meal times are always very busy and so we ask that if at all possible friends could avoid these times, unless of course the patient would like them to help them at meal times. Family will of course be welcome to stay throughout the day and evening.
We ask that all visitors let our ward receptionist know that they have arrived at the IPU. Our staff will then check that with the patient that they are able to see visitors, sometimes they might be very tired and not be up to having visitors. If this is the case we will politely ask family or friends to return later.
Q: Is there parking available for visitors?
A: We have a free car park for all visitors.
Q: Is there a restaurant for visitors to get a meal?
A: Unfortunately there is no dining room for relatives and friends. In certain circumstances we would provide meals for family and friends if they have travelled from afar and if we provided meals for other visitors we would ask for a suitable donation. There is a coffee shop with light refreshments and visitors are very welcome to bring in a take-away meal to eat themselves or share with you. We have facilities for patients’ families to stay overnight. This would need to be discussed with a member of the nursing staff in advance.
Q: Will I be able to see my pet?
A: It can be arranged for your pet to visit patients if they would like, but please discuss this with a member of the team.