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Coming into hospital

alternate text 48Contact 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.

PDF icon 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 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

All our hospital wards recognise, respect and value carers.  If your family member is at the end of their life, or has a cognitive impairment (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.

PDF icon Carer Information: Staying overnight with us - 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.


Hornsby Hospital Carers Centre

Hornsby Hospital has a new Carers Centre located on Level 1, Building 60. A Carer Support officer will be on site during the week and Carers are welcome to drop by for information and guidance. Outside the centre you will find information on caring, so please feel free to take any of these materials with you and call us if we're not there to answer any questions you may have. Next door to our Carers Centre is a new ‘Changing Place' where those in continence aids can access a height-adjustable adult-size change table and hoist (suitable for people over 20kg). There is also a shower and other facilities for Carers who are staying overnight at the bedside. Our Changing Place is different to regular ‘accessible’ or ‘disabled toilets’ in that it provides - as well as a toilet - a safe and hygienic place for Carers and the person they're caring for to change. ​


Communications and Care Cues- CCC

PDF icon Communication and Care Cues (CCC) Information for Family and 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-centered care.  So when someone you care for comes into hospital, please ask about, and fill out the PDF icon 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 you don't understand. If you have any concerns or complaints, speak to the nurse 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. Too many visitors may be overwhelming so we suggest you try to limit the number of visitors at any one time.


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 a simple and single most important way to reduce the spread of infection. 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 and encourage visitors to wash their hands when entering and leaving the ward and ask them not to visit if they are sick.

You can 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 External Link.


Coming into Royal North Shore Hospital from rural areas

PDF icon 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

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

Discharge checklist

PDF iconDischarge Checklist  - For carers and families - things to consider when the person you care for is leaving hospital.

Isolated Patients Travel and Accommodation Assistance Scheme (IPTASS)

ITPASS External Link- 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 PDF iconDelirium 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.


Being able to understand signs and symptoms of delirium can help you seek treatment faster. Our NSLHD delirium page helps you learn the basics and explains what delirium is, who can get it, what to look for and what to do if you’re worried.


Help for non-English speakers

Interpreter Information (website works on latest browsers only)External Link  - 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

PDF iconCarers 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. 

REACHExternal Link - 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. We also recommend you look after yourself by taking regular rest breaks, stay hydrated and eat when possible.

At Royal North Shore Hospital we have a carers centre which is in the main foyer of the hospital. At Hornsby Hospital there will be a carers centre in the new hospital and in coming years at Ryde Hosptal. To contact the carer support service call 9462 9488


Other resources from NSW Health

Chevron Going to hospital and admission choices External Link

ChevronEmergency departments External Link

Chevron Questions to ask your doctor or specialist Currently selected External Link

Chevron Going home from hospital External Link

ChevronConcessional parking External Link

ChevronHealthcare associated infection External Link

ChevronYour stay in hospital - your choices External Link