During your stay

Upon arrival

  • If you are well enough, we will show you around the ward and the facilities available, such as the toilets and showers. Please ask if you need further information or do not understand anything.
  • You will be given a wristband stating your name and patient ID number. This is an important safeguard to ensure you receive the right treatment.
  • Ask for a denture pot, if you need one.

Smoke-free at NDDH

Please do not smoke or ‘vape’ in the hospital buildings, grounds or car parks. The Trust operates a smoke and vape free policy.

We want to help people stop smoking. Why not call the Devon Stop Smoking Service on 0800 2982654 / local rate 01392 908139 or visit www.onesmallstep.org.uk, or see your GP before coming into hospital? The benefits begin the minute you stop smoking. If you need advice on giving up while in hospital, please talk to one of the nurses.

Who’s who

You will see many different members of staff on the ward. If you are not sure who they are, please ask them. All staff wear identity badges saying who they are and what they do.

Click here for more information.

During your stay

To call the nurse, press the large orange button on the bedside handset. When pressed, a red light appears in the main corridor to alert the nurse. At the same time, a bell will ring intermittently until the nurse turns it off.

Ward rounds

When doctors and nurses do their ward rounds, usually in the mornings, they will plan your treatment. We will invite you to share your opinions, discuss your treatment and ask questions during these rounds.

Drug rounds

Staff give out medication at regular intervals, usually before meal times and last thing at night. Our staff need to concentrate whilst doing the drug round so we would ask that you do not interrupt them. If you need to speak to a member of staff, let them know, and they will come back to you after the drug round.

Safety briefings

The ward coordinator will meet with the multidisciplinary team in the morning and identify any patients that need more focus and attention as your safety is our priority.

Pain relief

You don’t need to be in pain. Please tell us if you are in pain and we will provide pain relief.


Many patients find it difficult to sleep well in hospital. Our ward staff work hard to keep noise to a minimum at night. Please let us know if we can do anything to improve this for you. Sleeping tablets can be prescribed.

Keeping mobile

Unless you are advised not to, we encourage all patients to move around and remain active throughout the day to encourage blood circulation and to prevent stiffening of the joints, pressure damage and clots. Pressure damage happens when you sit or lie in one position for too long. We will regularly check that you are not developing pressure damage but we also ask patients to try and change position often when sitting on a chair or lying on the bed.

You will also be assessed for the risk of developing clots and maybe prescribed a medication to thin your blood again early mobilisation is essential to reduce this risk.


If you discover a fire

  • Call for assistance and operate the nearest fire alarm.
  • Move away from the danger area and wait for further instructions from the ward staff.

On hearing the fire alarm

  • If it is safe to do so, stay in your ward area and wait for instructions from the ward staff.
  • If you need to move away from danger, follow the fire exit signs, but stay on the ward until you are instructed to move.

Telephones, television and radio

Each hospital bed has a Hospedia unit providing telephone, television, radio and internet access. Some services are free, others are purchased. Cards can be bought via vending machines on wards or paid for by credit card, using the Hospedia handset.

Hospedia provides subscribing patients with a telephone line and a telephone number, which can be given to relatives and families. Incoming calls are charged at a premium rate: please call 0845 414 1234 or log onto www.hospedia.co.uk for details of costs.

Here are some tips on how you can save money during your stay at the hospital.

Please ask your friends and relatives to keep calls to the general ward telephone to a minimum, as often nurses have to leave their work, caring for patients, to answer the phone. Please nominate one person to keep in contact with the ward and relay any messages and progress reports to and from other friends and relatives.

Mobile phones are allowed on the wards and in most clinical areas, but must be switched to mute so not to disturb any other patients where possible. Mobile phones should be used in nominated areas such as stairwells and in the foyer. Please ask staff where you are permitted to use them.

Leaving the ward

The nurses caring for you are responsible for your safety and wellbeing during your stay. If you wish to leave the ward, please tell a nurse where you are going.

Gifts and donations

Our staff are not able to accept personal gifts, but we are happy to accept donations to Over and Above, the hospital charity (Registered Charity No 1051463). For details, please ask the nursing staff to contact the fundraising team.


We serve three daily meals on our wards and have introduced protected mealtimes (see Visitors, privacy & dignity section).

You choose your meals from a daily menu. If you have any special requirements or can’t see anything that suits you, please tell a nurse or housekeeper. Sometimes, because of an operation or as part of your treatment, you will not be allowed to eat or drink.

Mealtimes on the ward are approximately:
Breakfast 7.30am – 8.30am
Lunch 11.45am – 12.30pm
Supper 5.30pm – 6.30pm

Spiritual care

The Chaplaincy Department provides spiritual and pastoral care and support for patients, visitors and staff particularly at times of personal stress or trauma. Although Christian in its staffing and services, the Chaplaincy provides spiritual support for people of all faiths or none. We have contacts with various local and national faith communities and will try to ensure that everyone’s spiritual needs are met.

The Chapel is on Level 1 beside the library. A communion service is held here every Sunday at 9am. The chapel is specifically available for Muslim users every Friday 1pm – 1.30pm.

Copies of the New Testament provided by the Gideons are placed in all bedside lockers throughout the hospital, and copies of the Koran are available for loan from the Chapel and the library.

The chaplains and their voluntary staff visit the wards regularly and try to see all patients. Requests for specific visits to individual patients can be made by staff contacting the Chaplaincy.

To contact the Chaplaincy, phone the switchboard 01271 322577 and ask for the Chaplaincy or extension 2362. Alternatively, ask a nurse or ward clerk to make contact for you.

Information centre

An Information Centre for patients, the public and staff is based in the main foyer on Level 2 of the hospital. It stocks written material on a wide variety of health issues, including medical and surgical conditions, healthy lifestyles, benefits and social care.

Staff can help you find the information you want, and print out material if required.

If the centre does not have what you need, staff will help you find the information from another source. Information can be made available in other formats, such as large type, or in languages other than English.

The Information Centre is open from 9.30am to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday. You can also contact the centre by phone on 01271 314090 or by email ndht.pals@nhs.net

The internet resources can also be accessed here.


There is hospital security within the hospital 24hrs a day, but please talk in the first instance to a member of the ward team if you have any concerns about your personal security.

Our staff

We expect our staff to treat everyone with respect and dignity, and all visitors and patients to treat staff in the same way. Please note that the Trust does not tolerate physical or verbal violence or aggression towards members of staff, and will take legal action if necessary.

Going home

Planning for when you are discharged will begin as soon as you arrive in hospital. The ward nursing staff will coordinate this, working closely with you and your family/carer. We aim to discharge patients where possible by 11am.

You will normally be expected to make your own arrangements for transport home. If this is not possible, please speak to a nurse, discharge coordinator or the ward clerk.

Sometimes we move a patient to a local community hospital for further care and treatment. If your doctor advises this, we will discuss it with you and your family.

Monitoring for equal opportunities

We have a responsibility to make sure that all the services we offer are accessible to all, fair and easy to use under the Equality Act 2010. We may ask you some questions about yourself, such as your ethnic origin, sexuality, religion and whether you have a disability.

By answering these questions you can help us see where there might be gaps in our service, and make sure the service you get is right for you. It is your choice whether or not to answer.

By collecting this information we will be able to see which communities live in North Devon and Torridge and make sure our staff have the necessary skills to care for all the patients we serve. For example, we can ensure that we have the correct interpreters available when needed.

This data is kept confidential and is only seen by staff who are approved to use it, so they can make changes to services.

Last updated: October 5, 2021