St Catherine's Hospice patient asking a question

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

If you’ve been referred to our wards, it’s likely you’ll have questions. We hope you’ll find some answers here.

Who will refer me to St Catherine’s Hospice?

Any healthcare professional involved in your care might recommend our Inpatient Unit to you. This could be your GP, your St Catherine’s Community Nurse or your hospital Consultant.

Why might I go onto to the Inpatient ward?

There are many reasons that people stay on our wards including:
•To allow us to assess how your illness is affecting you, talk with you about what you need and work out the best way to support your future care

•To help improve your symptoms and make you more comfortable

•To give you and your carers a break. If you’re being cared for at home, we’ll plan a respite admission with you and your carers

•To make you as comfortable as possible and provide you with expert care and support at the end of your life

We also provide advice and support for your family, friends and carers.

How long will I have to wait for a bed?

Every weekday we review who has been referred to us and then admit those who would most benefit from a stay on our wards and a member of our team will keep you and your family informed. While we always offer you a bed as soon as we can, there may sometimes be a delay.  However we can support you while you’re waiting or, if you’re in hospital, we’ll transfer you when a bed is available.

Can I make choices about my care?

Yes. Shared decision making is important to us and we’ll always discuss care plans and suggested treatments with you (and your relatives if you wish).

You may wish to make some decisions about your future care and treatment and making an Advance Care Plan is one way to do this. An Advance Care Plan provides a useful framework to help you, either independently, with your family and friends, or with the help of staff, to think ahead, outline your preferences and state any special wishes or concerns regarding your future care. This is particularly helpful if there’s a time when you might be unable to explain these easily for yourself.

Patient Consent

At St Catherine’s, we’re committed to providing high quality care and before any member of staff examines or treats you, they’ll seek your permission or consent to do so, if you’re well enough to give this.

If at any stage, you’re not able to consent, we’ll do what we think is in your best interests. Anything you’ve said previously about how you wish to be cared for and the views of other people important to you will be taken into account. Please feel free to discuss this with a member of the team.

How do you look after my personal information?

Your privacy and dignity is something we take seriously. Confidential information given by you to us won’t be shared with your family or friends without your consent. There may, however, be times when it’s important for us to share relevant information in order to plan your care, particularly when your family or carers will be involved in this. We’ll discuss your preferences first about sharing information and respect your wishes as far as possible.

As part of your care, we’ll also need to exchange relevant clinical information within the wider St Catherine’s team or with other professionals involved in your care such as your GP, doctors who work out of hours and hospital staff.

Do you provide the same things as a hospital?

We are very different to a hospital. Our focus is on helping you live the best possible life through caring for you in a way that’s right for you. As part of this, our expert doctors and nurses will provide expert care, for example medication to help with pain relief. If you need support that requires specialist equipment, investigation or management, such as intensive care or full resuscitation, we will transfer you to hospital.

How long will I stay at St Catherine’s?

The length of your stay with us will depend on your circumstances, but on average people stay for around two weeks. Occasionally people might stay longer as we’ll only discharge you once you have somewhere appropriate to be cared for.

How do I get to the hospice?

One of our team will get in touch with you to arrange transport for you to the hospice at the beginning of your stay.

What do I need to bring with me?

You can see the full list of things to bring here.

Who will look after me?

You’ll be looked after by our expert team, who specialise in different areas of your care. You can find out more about the care and support you’ll receive here.

Do I have to pay for my care?

No, all our care is free. We can sometimes make claims on your private medical insurance so if you’re covered in this way, please let us know.

What if I carry a donor card?

Please talk about this with one of our nurses.

What activities can I take part in?

Every day, we have a range of different activities happening and encourage you to join in if you feel well enough. You can find out about our Day Hospice activities here or in the welcome booklet by your bed. You may find your days differ depending on how you’re feeling. You might meet with our expert team, spend time treating yourself to a complementary therapy, out in our garden or in bed resting.

What can I eat and drink?

Whatever you like! We have a daily menu and if there’s not something on there that you fancy, let us know. All meals are freshly prepared by our hospice chefs.

When can I eat and drink?

Whenever you like! Free food and drink is available at any time. Be sure to keep an eye out for our daily drinks trolley. It’s the perfect chance to enjoy your favourite tipple or non-alcoholic drink.

Do I have to wait for the tea trolley for a hot drink?

No. A member of our Nursing Team will be happy to get you a drink at any time, or if you’re feeling well enough, you might like to visit our coffee shop. Tea and coffee is free in the coffee shop for patients.

If you have visitors, they may also be offered a drink from our tea trolley. Donations towards this are always greatly appreciated.

It’s my birthday, can you help?

If you or someone close to you is celebrating a birthday, anniversary or other special occasion during your stay, please let us know. We love to celebrate with you.

Can I bring my own food and drink?

Yes. We’ll store any of the food and drink you bring in a fridge in our hospice kitchen. Please make sure you label any of your own food with your name and the date you bring the food in.

When can my family and friends visit me?

Whenever you like. Your relatives and friends are welcome to visit you at any time. For more information please look at our visiting hours.

Is there somewhere for my visitors to park?

Yes. Your visitors can park in the bays to the front of the main hospice building and at the Turner Centre at the rear of the site. Both areas are clearly signposted. Limited disabled parking bays are also available. If your visitor wishes to use one of these spaces, please remind them to display their disabled parking badge.

If any of your visitors leave their car parked at the hospice overnight, we suggest they park at the front of the main building and leave a note at the welcome desk with their name, car registration number and make.

Are there any facilities for my visitors?

Your visitors are welcome to use our relatives’ rooms, main Octagon sitting area, quiet room, coffee shop, conservatory and garden while they’re here. We also have a children’s playroom for younger visitors. Toilets for your visitors can be found in the main welcome area.

Can my family and friends eat at the hospice?

Yes. We have a coffee shop where your visitors can buy food and drink.

Our coffee shop opening times are:
Monday to Friday: 8.30am to 4pm
Saturday to Sunday: 8.30am to 4pm
The vending machines are open 24-hours a day.

When our volunteers are available, we also provide a supper menu for visitors from 4pm to 6pm on weekdays.

Can my pets visit me?

Yes. We understand your pet is important to you and welcome them to visit but please discuss this with a member of your Nursing Team beforehand. While they’re here, we ask that pets are kept under control and that dogs are kept on a lead. For hygiene reasons we also ask you not to feed your pets in patient areas.

Can my relatives and friends telephone to ask how I am?

Yes, people can call at any time of day or night. If the nurse caring for you is busy when they phone, our receptionist will take their number and someone will call them back as soon as possible.

Is there a patient telephone?

Yes. We have a cordless phone on each ward that you’re welcome to use.

Can I use my mobile phone?

Yes, at any time. To respect other patients’ privacy, please set your phone to silent and ask your visitors to use their mobiles away from patient areas.

Can I smoke?

Smoking isn’t permitted within the hospice building, for the safety and comfort of all patients and staff. There’s a designated outside smoking area and you can smoke in the garden. If you need to smoke but are unable to smoke independently, please ask us for help.

What happens if I go home again?

During your stay, each day our team will assess your needs and explore with you and your family the most appropriate place for you to be cared for. It might be that it’s best for you to return home, to transfer to a care home or to stay with us at the hospice.

We’ll include you and your family in discussions at all stages. Please don’t worry if we start talking about discharge within a few days of your admission. This is perfectly normal. Some discharge arrangements can take time to sort out so it’s best we start early.

If you do go home, we’ll make sure that everything you need is ready and in place. It’s likely that you’ll continue to receive expert support from our Community Nursing Team and if appropriate, we’ll also refer you to our Day Hospice.

Who can I talk to about my experience of St Catherine’s?

We want everyone’s experience of St Catherine’s to be a good one and we value your opinions as they are vital in helping us improve.

You can feedback to any member of staff at any time and while you’re here, you may be asked to fill out a Family and Friends Test.

How do I get access to my medical records?

If you are a St Catherine’s patient and would like access to your medical records, or copies of hospice correspondence regarding your treatment, please ask a member of our team.

What if I’m not entirely happy?

We hope you’ll never have reason to complain but if there’s something you’re not happy with, please tell us so we can try to put matters right. You can find out more about making a complaint here