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At East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust we want to take as much care of our visitors as we do of our patients.

If you are visiting a friend or relative at one of our hospitals for the first time:

  • make sure you know the formal name of the person you are visiting

  • find out which ward they are on from their nearest relative, or ask the hospital's main reception

  • find out what times the ward is open to visitors - see our list of wards and their visiting hours.

East Kent Hospitals is a smoke-free Trust. This means that for the good of the health of our patients, visitors and staff, smoking is not allowed in the hospital grounds or buildings.  

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When you visit

To protect our patients and visitors from the risk of infection, we ask you to clean your hands with the hand gel at the entrance of the ward before and after you visit.

All wards will ask you to have a maximum of two or three visitors with each patient at any one time. This is because talking to people can be tiring if you are ill.

Sometimes the staff might ask you not to visit. They will only do this if it is best for the patient and they will always explain the reasons why.

To protect our patients, visitors who have illnesses such as coughs and colds are encouraged not to visit.

If the patient is well enough they may enjoy the opportunity to leave the ward environment. If they do, please ask the person in charge of the shift if you are able to take the patient out. Give an indication of how long and where you will be.

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What to bring


Some wards encourage patients to wear their own clothes during the day. At other times patients may feel more comfortable in their night wear. Find out from the ward what the procedure is for dealing with dirty washing, so you can replace clothes when necessary.  


Patients may ask you to bring them food. There are no facilities for reheating this, so if you do bring in food, try to make sure it is eaten while it is still fresh.

For safety reasons it is not a good idea to store perishable food on the ward.

Dry food such as fruit and biscuits can be stored in the locker by the bed, as can bottles of squash.

If you are worried about how much or how little the patient is eating, please raise your concerns with the named nurse or nurse in charge of the ward.

Ethnic menus and special diets are available in the hospital. Ask a member of staff if you would like to see what is available.


Wards are usually kept at high temperatures and flowers will not last very long. Large amounts of flowers can be difficult to display at the patient's bedside.

Some wards do not allow fresh flowers for patients because of special infection risks. Please check with the ward before you bring any in.  

Things for patients to do

As the patient begins to recover you might like to bring things for them such as books, magazines, mp3 players and any crafts they enjoy. Please do not bring anything that is expensive, irreplaceable or of sentimental value.

If you bring battery operated items make sure you bring plenty of batteries. All items must be well marked with the patient's name so they are not lost.

For the safety of our patients, any electrical appliances cannot be used until the hospital electrician has checked them to make sure they are safe.

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If you are worried

If you are worried about any part of your relative or friend's stay in hospital, such as if you think they are not eating well, please feel free to tell us about your concerns.

You can talk to the nursing staff or the ward manager. The ward manager is a nurse, responsible for everything that happens on the ward. If the ward manager is not on duty there is always someone in charge of the shift. Please feel free to ask to speak to them.

Every patient in hospital is placed under the care of a consultant who will visit the patient regularly. If you would like to speak to the consultant please ask the nursing staff to arrange this for you.

If you would like to speak to someone who is not directly involved in caring for your relative or friend, please talk to one of the Patient Experience Team, who will be pleased to help you.

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Help us protect patients' privacy

We ask all patients and visitors to respect our patients' privacy. Taking photographs of or filming patients is not permitted without the written permission of the Trust.

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