What to expect when coming to our sites

Coming Ark Royal Ward C Taylor & L Varghese 8.jpgto hospital can be an unsettling time, both for yourself and your family, friends or carers. We want to ensure that you feel as relaxed, reassured and comfortable as possible during your stay. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to talk to a member of our staff. 

Visitors are welcome to come and see you during your stay with one of our services. This includes our secure forensic mental health units.

We ask all visitors to contact the ward team to arrange a visit (these details can be found on our site pages). They will talk you through the restrictions in place and how many visitors are allowed at one time. 

You will be required to clean your hands before and after your visit.

Visiting hours will vary depending on the ward. Please contact the ward directly for more information (these details can be found on our site pages).

We normally ask that visits don’t co-inside with meal times or during group or individual activities.

Security Measures

Our Forensic units have special rules about items that are allowed into visiting areas. You will be advised of the steps to take on arrival but items such as mobile phones, cameras and lighters will need to be stowed away in the lockers available.

Visits by Children

It is important for children and their parents to stay in contact and be assured each other are OK. Children can visit by arrangement with the ward manager. We have specially designed family visiting rooms at most of our sites to provide the right environment for families to spend time together.

Typically, some of the things you’ll be asked to bring with you for a stay in hospital include:

  • Your regular medication. This will be taken from you so we can store it securely and dispense to you during your stay
  • Nightwear and daywear
  • Shoes and/or sturdy slippers
  • Toiletries

Your service will advise you about what other items you should bring. If you're not sure, please ask a member of staff. 

For more details of what to bring to a mental health ward, please see our Mental Health Inpatient Services page or Older Person's Mental Health Inpatient Services page.  

Please do not bring

  • Too many items – keeping your ward or room clutter free helps keep you and others safe from trips, falls and other hazards.
  • Your own bedding or quilts. For health and safety reasons we can’t normally allow this so please leave it at home.
  • Valuables – we can’t accept responsibility for loss or damage of valuables or personal items, so please try to leave valuable or sentimental items at home 

The staff on your ward or unit will be able to advise further as to what to bring and not bring during your stay.

For Specialist and Forensic Services please see the individual site page for more information. 

Once you are well enough your health team will begin to discuss and plan for your recovery away from hospital. This will likely be in your own home or wherever you normally call home, but could also be in supported accomodation such as a nursing home.

To ensure you can continue your recovery safely, you may need a 'package of care' (a number of different health professionals working together who can support your recovery) in place before you are discharged. This will be organised between the hospital, our partner organisations in the community, and social care colleagues in the Local Authority.  

Below is some additional information to help you understand the process for leaving hospital. 

As a provider of healthcare, we treat very vulnerable people every single day. We have to make sure we continue to keep these people, and our staff, safe from COVID-19. To keep all of us safe here is what you must do when visiting our sites or staff: 

  • Wash your hands or use the gel provided to keep them clean. 
  • If you have symptoms of COVID-19, do not come into the hospital unless it is an emergency. 

Visiting patients
Visitors are welcome to come and see you during your stay with one of our services. This includes our secure forensic mental health units. 

Visiting hours and arrangements will vary depending on the ward. Please contact the ward directly for more information (these details can be found on our site pages).

You will be required to clean your hands before and after your visit.

If you have a cough, cold, diarrhoea, fever, vomiting or any other infectious condition, contact the ward for advice before visiting.

We normally ask that visits don’t co-inside with meal times or during group or individual activities.

Thank you for your continued support. 

More information can be found on our Coronavirus information pages.


At Southern Health we are committed to reducing all infection.  We do this in a number of ways. 

Specialist Infection Prevention and Control Team
We work in conjunction with Trust staff to deliver high standards of infection prevention and control as a multi-disciplinary team. The team comprises of:

  • Director of Infection Prevention & Control
  • Lead Nurse Infection Prevention & Control
  • Infection Control Nurses
  • Access to Microbiologists

Monitoring infection
The Trust monitors, reports and thoroughly investigates blood stream and C.difficile infections occurring a few days after admission.  The Infection Prevention and Control team regularly monitor results from the laboratory and advise staff on the best way to care for patients with transmissible infections.   This helps to ensure that infections do not spread.

MRSA screening
We test most patients for MRSA on admission to a physical health or older persons mental health ward.   This enables us to provide the correct care and reduce the risk of spreading the bacteria to others.   If you are found to have the bacteria on your skin, this information will be shared with you.  If you have gone home, your GP will be informed.

Hospital cleaning
We place great importance on providing a clean hospital and monitors standards on a daily basis.   The wards and patient rooms at Southern Health hospitals are cleaned on a daily basis.  if there are concerns that infection is present, there is a system of routine cleaning procedures in place, as well as periodic enhanced cleaning methods.

If you have any concerns about the cleanliness of the hospital either as a visitor or patient, please do not hesitate to bring it to the attention of the staff.

Hand washing
We have alcohol rub at entrances of the hospital and wards and also at the point of care, where it is safe to do so. Cleaning our hands is one of the most important things that we can all do to prevent infection. 

Useful information

In all of our inpatient facilities, men and women are cared for separately. This is to help respect your privacy and dignity. When you don’t have your own bathroom, you’ll also find a same-sex bathroom and toilet near to your ward or bedroom. Read our ‘privacy and dignity' page for more information.

If you’re admitted to one of our mental health services you will have your own room, and in most cases your own bathroom too.

When you arrive at one of our hospitals or inpatient services, you’ll be shown around your ward and introduced to staff. You will also be given an explanation of the routine on the ward, such as meal times and visiting hours.

We will always try to cater for your religious or cultural needs. Most of our inpatient facilities will have multi-faith rooms and access to the chaplaincy service.

You can find out more about your Privacy and Dignity rights here. 

Don't forget, you can stay in contact with patients and service users with out having to visit in person.

You can:

All of our inpatient units have Ipads and laptops to help you stay in touch. 

Thank you for your assistance in keeping everyone safe. 

Please help us to improve the health of the people in our care.  Avoid bringing drink or food that has a high sugar content such as juice, fizzy drinks, sweets and chocolate.

Foods that are high in fat such as deep fried food, pizza or other takeaway meals should be limited to just 1-2 times a week.

These foodstuffs are fine in small amounts. But we all need to look after our health and work to reduce the risk of obesity and health issues that come from being overweight. We want the patients in our care to become healthier during their time with us, so please help them to reach their optimum health.

Smoke free icon.PNGSouthern Health is proud to be a Smoke-Free Trust. All of our hospitals operate a strict no smoking policy. Smoking cigarettes or tobacco products is not allowed on any of the grounds or in any of the buildings run by us. This applies to patients, staff, carers and visitors to Trust premises.

Our goal is to improve the health and wellbeing of everyone we care for and, by making sure that our NHS services are smoke-free, we benefit the health of people who use our services as well as the health of the people who work for us.

People who are admitted to our hospitals have the option to temporarily stop smoking during their stay, or to make a quit attempt with support from a trained member of staff. For both options, we provide nicotine replacement products to help with the cravings for a cigarette, so no-one is forced to experience the effects of nicotine withdrawal. Products such as patches, lozenges, mouth sprays and e-cigarettes are all available and we work with our patients to find the one that works best for them, alongside their existing medication, as part of their care plan.

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