Your stay in hospital

Homerton serves a culturally diverse community, which is reflected by both our patients and staff. We are fully committed to providing equal and fair treatment for everyone who uses our hospital.

When you arrive you will find a welcome pack providing you with essential information about ward routines, controlling infections, meals, visiting times and a lot more.

Visiting times

Visiting times on the main adult inpatient wards are 12:00 midday to 1:30 pm and 4 pm - 8 pm. Three visitors are allowed. The exceptions are below.

If your visitors need to visit outside of these times, please ask the ward sister or nurse in charge. Where possible, they will accommodate such requests; however, our patients’ needs are the most important and at times this may not be possible.

As each ward will have ill patients we ask that visitors are kept to three per bed and that the noise level is minimal.

Visiting times for the Regional Neurological Rehabilitation Unit

Monday                        4pm - 9pm
Tuesday                       4pm - 9pm
Wednesday                  1pm - 9pm
Thursday                      4pm - 9pm
Friday                           1pm - 9pm
Saturday & Sunday     11am - 9pm

Visiting times for the maternity unit
Any restrictions to the numbers of visitors apply to minimise the risk of infection and ensure the health and safety of mothers and their newborn babies

Delivery suite
Up to two birth support partners only. No visiting, to minimise the risk of infection and ensure the health and safety of mothers and their newborn babies.

Maternity ward
8am to 1pm - one adult
1pm to 3pm - rest period, no visiting
3pm to 8pm - 2 visitors

Templar Ward
One adult can stay overnight subject to conditions that must be agreed in advance and signed at the ward.

Maximum visitors per bed: one adult and two children of the patient on the ward. Children of the patient on the ward may visit during this period. Children under 16 cannot visit unless they are the brother or sister of the new baby. Restrictions to the number of visitors apply to minimise the risk of infection and ensure the health and safety of mothers and their newborn babies. No flowers, please.

Please check with the neonatal unit (SCBU), Starlight, RNRU and the Intensive Care Unit for visiting times as these differ from the general wards.
Young children can become easily bored in the hospital and unfortunately, we cannot provide children’s facilities in every ward. Children can also be vulnerable to picking up infections. We ask that only your immediate family bring in babies or young children to visit.

Flowers on the wards
We do not allow fresh flowers or potted plants in the hospital as they can be hazardous to both patients and staff, especially if there is electrical equipment around. Flowers can also be a source of infection if left in stale water.

Preventing infection

Most common infections 

All of our wards and departments are cleaned as a minimum to standards outlined by the Department of Health, with ward and other high risk areas being cleaned at least daily. 

Image of tap

As a patient you have an important part to play in keeping your hospital clean by keeping personal belongings to a minimum and not littering. Cleanliness is everyone’s responsibility. If you see something that isn’t right please let the ward or department staff know and we will aim to respond to your concern as soon possible.

Infections that occur in a hospital or similar healthcare environment are called Healthcare Associated Infections or HCAIs

The most common are MRSA (Meticillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) and C.difficile (Clostridium difficile) 

Homerton has very low rates of MRSA and C.difficile and the Trust is committed to ensuring that they remain low and where possible reduced further. 

There is a Director of Infection Control and Prevention who reports to the Chief Executive and a dedicated Infection Control and Prevention Team. The team provide specialist advice and support to all trust staff on issues relating to infection prevention and produce policies and procedures to ensure that patients, visitors and staff are protected from acquiring infections.  

Preventing infections
If you are due to come into hospital please let staff know if:

  • you have been in any hospital in the last 12 months
  • you have previously been told that you have MRSA
  • you have had C.difficile diarrhoea in the past
  • you develop any diarrhoea and/or vomiting prior to admission or whilst in hospital

When you are in hospital it is important to use good hygiene, which includes washing your hands before meals and after going to the toilet. If you cannot do this yourself then ask one of the nurses to help you.

If you are visiting someone in hospital it is important that:

  • you use the alcohol hand gel when entering and leaving the ward or use soap and water if you are visiting someone with C.difficile or diarrhoea
  • you do not visit if you are feeling unwell or discuss with one of the nurses if you are unsure
  • if you want to bring children into the wards, please discuss this first with the nurses and do not bring them in if they are unwell.

If a patient has an infection that can be passed onto another person, for example, C.difficile, they will be isolated either in a single room or nursed with other patients with the same infection in a bay.

This is to protect other patients, visitors and staff and is closely monitored by the Infection Control and prevention Team.

Hand hygiene
Alcohol hand gel is available at the entrance of every ward and at the ends of patients’ beds. The Trust takes part in the National Patient Safety Agency, ‘Clean Your Hands’ campaign.

This involves poster displays, education and promotional work around hand hygiene for both staff and visitors to the hospital. We do not expect patients or visitors to have to ask if staff have cleaned their hands, however sometimes staff can by very busy or may have used a sink out of sight, so if you haven’t seen someone clean their hands, or think they may have forgotten then please do ask.

It’s OK to ask our staff if their hands are clean before they start caring for you.

Homerton is bare below the elbow
All clinical staff, when caring for patients, should not wear anything below the elbow including white coats and long sleeve shirts. Bracelets, watches and other wrist jewellery are also not allowed, along with rings (apart from plain wedding bands). In addition, clinical staff have stopped wearing ties and bowties.

Further information
If you have any further queries in relation to infection control and prevention please contact 020 8510 7557 directly.

Compliance and screening
To help control the spread of MRSA patients may be screened on admission to the hospital or in the pre-assessment clinic.

This involves taking swabs from the nose, throat and groin area and sending to the laboratory to test if MRSA is present. This is a painless procedure. 

If the swabs are positive and the person is not yet in hospital they will be contacted and necessary arrangements will be made to have treatment before being admitted. If the person is in hospital, they will be given treatment and may be moved to an isolation area.

Homerton Hospital is compliant with MRSA screening guidance for all patients (elective and emergencies). The Trust monitors compliance on a monthly basis and this information is reported to the Trust board. 

Overseas visitors

Why is it important to identify people who are eligible for free NHS treatment?
Homerton Hospital complies with national (and European Union) legislation about who is eligible for free NHS treatment. The regulations relating to entitlement to NHS care are intricate, but in brief, our legal obligations are to:

  1. ensure that patients who are not ordinarily (normally) resident in the UK are identified
  2. assess liability for charges in accordance with charging regulations (there are a number of exemptions)
  3. charge those liable to pay in accordance with the regulations
  4. ensure that our process is open to scrutiny and is equitably and fairly applied.

Who is responsible for identifying patients?
The Department of Health has recommended that an individual in every Trust should be made responsible for the management of patients not entitled to NHS care. 

The rules about free NHS treatment are very complex. In January 2008 Homerton created the role of Patient Initiatives Officer (PIO). The PIO is first point of call for all enquiries about eligibility.

Contact details
Sharon O'Neil, Patient Initiatives Officer
tel: 020 8510 5152 or 07717 681 138

What is an overseas visitor?
Overseas visitors are people who are not 'ordinarily' resident in the UK. The NHS Trust Regulations 1989 require overseas visitors to pay for treatment, unless they fall within certain exemption categories. See the Department of Health website for a full list.

We provide patients/relatives a Department of Health leaflet 'Are you visiting the United Kingdom - did you know that you may have to pay for hospital treatment whilst here'.
We also have our own leaflet as shown below. 

EEA Nationals
Even if you are not ordinarily resident in the UK, as an EEA National you are not under any immigration restrictions for the first 3 months of your stay. If you need to access the NHS during this period you will require a valid EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) issued by your home country or a valid PRC (Provisional Replacement Certificate). Ifyou are unable to provide either a EHIC or a PRC  then healthcare you receive outside of Accident & Emergency departments will be charged in accordance with the Department of Health Charging Regulations.

What if I take Right to Abode as EEA National? 
You will still be asked to provide a EHIC but additional evidence of settlement in UK will need to be provided, Find out more from the NHS website

Security in hospital

ID badges
All staff wear identity badges showing their name, job title and photograph. Do not allow anyone without an identity badge to treat you, take details from you, or remove/have any access to your property. If you see anyone behaving in a suspicious manner, please alert the nearest available member of staff.

Security measures
We have security officers on site 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Security carry out 18 full site patrols 24 hours a day and they also carry out additional rounds towards the main entrance of the hospital. In addition, there are a wide range of measures in operation to ensure your safety including:

  • closed circuit cameras, monitored 24 hours a day with recording and play 
    back facilities
  • security doors with intercom buzzer access on all wards.

We ask that you and your visitors do not give access to anyone that they do not know. Doors must be shut firmly behind you to prevent unauthorised access to the wards which have coded locks on the doors.

Access at night
All access to the hospital is restricted and closed from 10:30pm to 5:30am, access during these hours are through the main entrance and A&E department only.

We suggest that you do not bring more money or valuable items into hospital than you need for your stay. Any money or valuables that you do bring in with you can be stored in the ward safe; you will be issued a property form when depositing items here.

The Trust cannot accept responsibility for any damage to or loss of personal property, or any items of value that have not been deposited or listed.

Violence and aggression
We are committed to providing a safe and secure environment where staff can care for patients, free of the risk of violence, aggression and verbal abuse.

We will not tolerate any acts of violence, verbal or actual, against our staff or patients. Incidents of verbal or physical abuse will be dealt with by the security department or the police as required. The Trust may withdraw treatment if necessary or prosecute.

Spiritual and religious care

Our chaplaincy team can make your stay as easy and comfortable as possible providing for your spiritual care, regardless of your spirituality. This might include:

  • helping to reduce stress or anxiety
  • being a listening ear
  • supporting your relatives, friends and staff
  • exploring issues such as 'why me?' and 'why now?'.

Religious care
For some people spirituality is expressed through a religious faith. Our chaplains, who represent many different faiths and denominations, are available for:

  • prayer
  • Holy Communion
  • to talk about your faith
  • advice (including food provision)
  • times of religious services.

The Sanctuary and Shabbat Room
The chaplains are based in the Sanctuary complex (opposite X-Ray 1, near the main entrance).The Sanctuary is a shared space for quiet thought and contemplation as well as prayer, and is open all day from Monday to Friday. At other times, it may be opened by the security department, located by the main reception.

The Shabbat Room can be found next to the Occupational Health Department, where Jewish patients and their families can find respite. During the Sabbath kosher food is available, which is provided by Ezra U’Marpeh.

As well as using the Sanctuary for quiet reflection, regular religious services are held. Please contact the chaplains or visit the Sanctuary noticeboard for times.

If you would like to speak to a chaplain from our multi-faith team, including our Imam and Rabbi, please ask a member of the nursing staff who will contact them for you, or alternatively call us on 020 8510 7773 or 7385.

Otherwise you can visit the Sanctuary near the front of the hospital. A chaplain is also available to respond to emergencies out of normal office hours; please contact a member of the ward staff.