Coming Into Hospital

 Hospitals are busy and complex places.This video shares a Carer's Journey in Hospital and helps you understand what to expect.

Getting Here

Contact details, public transport information, campus maps and information on all NSLHD hospitals including Royal North Shore Hospital, Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital, Ryde Hospital, Northern Beaches Hospital and Mona Vale Hospital.

Who's Who of Hospital Staff

A range of healthcare professionals and other staff will care for you during your stay in hospital.  This brochure will help you understand the roles of different staff that you may interact with in hospitals and clinics. All of our staff wear name badges and will introduce themselves and explain their role in your care.  Carers are our Partners in Care and we want to involve you in all the care decisions. Please tell us if you need something explained more clearly. If you have any questions please ask a member of staff.

Caring by the bedside?

We have done a lot of work on hospital wards to support Carers at the bedside.  All our wards recognise, respect and value Carers.  If your family member is at the end of their life, or has a cognitive impairment - such as dementia, intellectual disability or other neurological impairment - and they are unsettled, talk to the nurse about staying with them. You will be provided with a recliner chair, linen and meals if it is appropriate for you to stay.

Carer Information: Staying overnight with us is an information sheet for Carers who need to stay with their family member whilst they are in hospital where that person may be unsettled and disorientated. Please contact the Carer Support Team on 9462 9488 if you need help with caring at the bedside.

CCC - Communications & Care Cues

Communication and Care Cues (CCC) Information for Family & Carers  - People with dementia, intellectual disability, or other memory and thinking problems, often have difficulty coping in an unfamiliar environment like hospital and may find it hard to communicate their needs. As a Carer, your knowledge of the patient, especially in regards to communication and behaviour, can help us provide better 'person-centred' care.  So when someone you care for comes into hospital, please ask about, and fill out the CCC Form. Alternatively, you can complete this form now and have it ready for when you next come to hospital.

What to expect in hospital

Hospital staff will try to explain everything to you, so be sure to write things down and ask any questions you have. Don't be afraid to ask staff to repeat or explain things that you don't understand. If you have any concerns or complaints, speak to the nurse who is looking after the person you care for.

Legal Considerations

As a Carer, you have the responsibility to ensure the best decisions are made for the person you care for.  In some situations you may need to make decisions on their behalf. This often becomes an issue if the person you care for has limited capacity. When they are not capable of making important life decisions someone will need to make decisions for them and you may need to consent to their treatment.

The Legal Considerations page of our website provides a quick and easy overview of this process and easy to understand information on Power of Attorney, Enduring Power of Attorney and Guardianship.

Advanced Care Directive

Advance Care Planning involves talking with the person you care for about their values and the type of health care they want to receive if they become seriously ill or injured and are unable to say what they want.  An Advanced Care Directive is similar to a Will; in fact it's often called a 'living Will'. It allows the person you care for to detail treatment limits at the end of their life.

The thought of this conversation may be uncomfortable for some people but should the situation arise knowing a person's wishes will help to reduce the stress of an already challenging time.  If the person you care for has an advance care plan, make sure you let hospital staff know about it as they will use the advance care plan to help make decisions about medical treatment.

Visiting Hospital

You can check with ward staff about who can visit the person you care for and when they can visit (visiting hours). Let family and friends know visiting hours as well as the patient's condition. One family member doing this is preferable to many ringing and asking the same thing. We also suggest that too many visitors may be overwhelming and to manage visitors.

Wash your hands!

When you visit, make sure you wash your hands and please don't visit if you are sick.

Washing your hands is the simplest and single most important way to reduce the spread of infection. Doing your bit will help us to do ours. Alcohol-based hand rub stations are found at the main entrances of our hospitals, at the entrance to wards and at the bedside.

  • wash your hands, with either alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water, before meals and after going to the toilet
  • encourage visitors to wash their hands when entering and leaving the ward and ask them not to visit if they are sick
  • ask staff if they have washed their hands, if you don't think they have.

All staff should clean their hands before and after touching a patient and their surroundings. 


All hospital grounds are smoke-free. Patients and visitors must leave the grounds to smoke (Smoke-free Environment Act 2000). If the person you care for smokes, talk to our staff about Nicotine Replacement Therapy. For help to quit smoking call the Quitline on 13 78 48 or visit Quit for Good.

Coming into Royal North Shore Hospital from Rural Areas

Coming into RNSH from Rural Areas  - We know that coming to hospital can be a challenging time, especially for rural visitors. In a large city like Sydney it can be difficult to locate local amenities, accommodation and services such as chemists, shops, accommodation, transport and medical centres. This guide may assist rural visitors with navigating and finding their way around Royal North Shore Hospital and its local area.

Medicine Considerations

Medicine Considerations -  At home, coming to hospital and leaving hospital - what you need to know.

Discharge checklist

Discharge Checklist  - For Carers and families - things to consider when the person you care for is leaving hospital.


ITPASS - The Isolated Patients Travel and Accommodation Assistance Scheme is a NSW Government scheme providing financial assistance towards travel and accommodation costs when a patient needs to travel long distances for treatment that is not available locally.


Hospitalisation and multiple relocations are common causes of delirium. It is important to notify staff of any sudden change in the mental or physical condition of the person you care for. As a Carer, you know the patient well and can provide valuable information to staff caring for them.
Our Delirium brochure explains who is at risk, the causes and symptoms, recurrence, how it is treated, and the role of family and Carers to help care for someone suffering delirium. A Carer or a family member is encouraged to stay, and can be provided with meals and a recliner for their comfort.
Delirium translated brochures can be found on the Diverse Carers page of our website.

Help for non-English speakers 

Interpreter Information  - If English is not your first language and you are having difficulty understanding your doctor or any of the other professional staff caring for you, you can request a health care interpreter.

Carers Brochure

Carers Brochure - provides information for family members, partners and friends who are Carers and contains useful information, contact numbers and helpful tips for Carers in their caring role. 

Are you worried about a change in the condition of the person you care for?

REACH - Are you worried about a change in condition of the person you care for? YES? Then REACH out. Our hospitals respond to requests from family members for a 'Clinical Review'. Ask the nurse to help you make a REACH call or if there is a phone by the bedside you may call 9 for our switchboard who will direct your call. REACH brochures are available in 10 different languages including: English, Arabic, Chinese simplified, Chinese Traditional, Greek, Italian, Korean, Macedonian, Nepali, Spanish and Vietnamese.

Carers - Our Partners in Care.

As a Carer it is important for you to remain both informed and aware of what is happening throughout your family member's hospital stay. We are committed to ensuring Carers are considered by all health staff as 'Partners in Care'.

If during the hospital stay you feel unsure or confused about what is happening, you are able to request a Family Conference to speak directly with the medical team.  If you are concerned, please ask a nurse, ward Social Worker, or a Carer Support Officer to organise a Family Conference for you. We also recommended keeping a record of the medical staff treating your family member and understand their role in treating the person you care for - we can provide a Carer notebook for you if you need one. We also recommend that you access regular rest breaks, stay hydrated and eat when possible.

At RNSH we have the Carer's Centre which is in the main foyer.  At Hornsby there will be a Carer's Centre in the new hospital opening 2020, and in coming years also at Ryde. To contact the Carer Support Service please call 9462 9488.

My Health Record

My Health Record provides many valuable benefits for Carers. You can read more here. To register someone you care for, or yourself, visit the My Health Record website or telephone them 1800 723 471.

Your health care rights and responsibilities

Everyone receiving healthcare in NSW has certain rights and responsibilities. These include the right to access, safety, respect, communication, participation, privacy and to comment on their care. A partnership between patients and public healthcare providers leads to the best possible outcomes.  You can read more at Your Health Care Rights and Responsibilities - A Guide for Patients, Carers and Families.

Other resources from NSW Health