Your treatment

We want you to understand what we’re doing to help you get better, as well as why and how we’re doing it. All that information, as well as how you can help us, is in this section.

Consent to treatment

Your doctor, nurse or other health professional will tell you all about your treatment; if it involves an operation or certain other procedures, they’ll ask you to sign a consent form. It is vital that you understand your doctor or nurse so if you’re unsure on anything, please do ask them to explain or repeat any information.

If you change your mind before the procedure, you can withdraw that consent, even after signing. Remember: it’s your decision and your consent. Ask as many questions as you like, and remember to tell the healthcare team about any concerns, or about any medication, allergies or past history which might affect your general health.

Medicines

It’s best, if you can, to bring your usual medicines with you into hospital, even if they’re over-the­ counter or complementary. The fuller the medication history we have, the easier it is to give you the best treatment. We’ll store your own medication in your bedside locker and, if suitable and with your permission, we might give you this while you’re here, so you’re taking something familiar.

Pharmacy will let you have anything new or different you might need, and make sure you’ve got a good supply to take home. A pharmacist and pharmacy technician will usually visit the ward on weekdays. Their job is to make sure your drug treatment is safe and effective, and they’ll:

  • make sure that we have an accurate list of the medicines you take at home
  • make sure that your prescription chart is clear
  • check whether any changes to your medicines are intended
  • advise the doctors and nurses about your drug therapy
  • answer any questions about your medicines, including any side­ effects

Even when the pharmacy department is closed, there’s an on­-call pharmacist to provide emergency advice and supply.

Privacy and dignity

Our aim is to provide you with high quality care and treatment that is safe, effective and respects your privacy and dignity. This includes making sure you don’t have to share accommodation, toilets or washing facilities with patients of the opposite sex, so we’re committed to providing every patient with same­-sex sleeping bays, bathrooms and toilet facilities.

In exceptional cases, a patient of the opposite sex who needs very specialised or urgent care might take priority, and if this happens, we’ll make sure the time a patient spends in this environment is kept to an absolute minimum and extra care is taken to protect the patient’s privacy and dignity.

We ask all our patients to respect the privacy and dignity of others, and expect you to show the kind of respect to others as you’d expect yourself, particularly when using toilets and washing facilities. If you have any concerns, please let us know.

Read more about our care promise to all of our patients.

Preventing infection

We take the prevention of infection very seriously. Our infection prevention team provides a 24­-hour advice and guidance service.

There are plenty of things you can do to help us, these include:

  • Keep your hands and body clean. Bring in your own toiletries and try not to use, or borrow, other patients’ toiletries.
  • Wash or clean your hands before and after eating and always after using the toilet / commode / bedpan.
  • Use soap and water to wash your hands and make sure you wash and dry them thoroughly.
  • If you can’t reach a sink, ask one of the nursing staff for some hand wipes.
  • Staff should always wash their hands or use the gel provided before they examine you or perform a procedure. Not doing so risks contamination, so if you’re not completely sure, please feel free to ask if they’ve washed their hands. Don’t worry, they won’t mind.
  • Encourage visitors to use the hand gel or wash basins at the ward entrance every time they come in and leave.
  • Your bed and ward area should be cleaned regularly. If things don’t seem clean enough, or something’s been missed, tell the nurse in charge or ask to speak to the Matron.
  • Try to keep the top of your locker free from clutter so it can be cleaned properly.
  • Please ask your visitors not to sit on your bed, and don’t sit on other patients’ beds.
  • If your visitors have symptoms such as flu, diarrhoea or vomiting or infections such as chicken pox, they must not visit because they could easily infect someone else.
  • If anything to do with infection prevention is worrying you, feel free to challenge staff, they won’t mind. You can also always speak to a senior member of staff.

Find out more about how we work to prevent infection on our quality and safety standards page.

Research

Royal Cornwall Hospitals is an active research site, which means that the Trust is constantly involved in research into a variety of conditions.

We carry out research to find better ways to treat or look after people, and there are lots of different kinds of research: some projects are questionnaires about your experiences, some look at how effective your treatment is and others might be to assess new treatments, drugs or devices such as pacemakers.

While you’re being treated at Royal Cornwall Hospitals, a nurse or doctor might ask you about taking part in a research study.

Whatever type it is, it will have been reviewed by an external independent group to make sure it’s as safe as possible and the right kind of study for patients in Cornwall. They’ll give you as much information as you need to help you make an informed decision, and we would always encourage you to talk it over with family, friends or anyone else you choose. Taking part in research is entirely your choice, and your decision will never affect the quality of care you receive.

If you’d like to know more, or see if there’s any research you might be suitable for, please visit our dedicated research section, feel free to ask your nurse or doctor when you’re here, or call the Senior Research Nurse on 07917 237357.

Facilities at our hospitals