Patients and visitors

Patient sat in bed talking to a nurse

Patients and visitors

We know visiting hospital can sometimes be daunting, so we want to reassure you that as a patient of ours, we'll ask what you think, and give you all the information you need to help you play an active part in any decision making. You'll be treated in an environment where your comfort and privacy and dignity are respected.

We achieve some of the best clinical outcomes anywhere in the NHS, and we trust that you'll receive great care from our team of dedicated staff. If you’d like to give feedback or think there is something we can improve, please let us know. 

Visiting and attending our hospitals with a loved one

Visiting a relative or friend

Please note this information is relevant as of 24.10.2023

We are now welcoming visitors to most areas of our hospitals although some areas caring for particularly vulnerable patients may have more restrictions in place. 

For more information on the specific visitor guidance for each hospital, please visit: St Bartholomew's Hospital, Newham Hospital, Whipps Cross Hospital, Mile End Hospital and The Royal London HospitalOur teams can also offer support with facilitating virtual visits.

Your safety

We ask visitors coming to our hospitals to:

  • Please clean your hands when entering and exiting clinical areas and wards. You can use the hand gel provided or wash your hands.

  • Universal mask wearing is no longer required, but if you would prefer to wear one these are available at hospital entrances. 

  • Please wear a hospital provided surgical facemask when visiting a patient on the ward with a respiratory illness.

Please do not visit if:  

  • You have Covid-19 symptoms or have tested positive  

  • You've recently been in close contact with someone who's tested positive for Covid-19  

  • You have any respiratory symptoms, such as coughing, sneezing or a sore throat  

  • You've been sick or have diarrhoea  

We are working hard to keep our patients, staff and the public safe. Please do your bit by following this guidance if you wish to visit someone at one of our hospitals.

Contacting a loved one in our hospitals

Send a message

We know that having a loved on admitted to hospital is distressing under normal circumstances, but it can be even more so when visiting is restricted.

You can send messages and photos to your loved ones using our online form. All responses will be printed off and shared each day. 

Send a message to your loved one

Virtual visiting

Visitors are an important part of supporting our patients' wellbeing and rehabilitation. We encourage the use of digital devices to help stay in contact with your loved ones.

As not all patients will have access to technology, we have a number of iPads which allow patients to communicate with their loved ones, using the StarLeaf app.

Virtual visiting: frequently asked questions

How does it work?

A patient or visitor can request a virtual visit by speaking to ward staff at Newham HospitalThe Royal London HospitalSt Bartholomew's Hospital and Whipps Cross Hospital. The ward teams will ask for the virtual visitor’s email and a time to set up the visit. The visitor will receive a video call from the iPad which will be with the patient. Alternatively, relatives/ loved ones can send recordings to the device that can be played to patients.

Can relatives virtually visit at any time?

Yes, as long as there is a staff member and a device available, a close relative can visit virtually at the most appropriate time.

How long does the virtual visit last for?

If the patient is unconscious, we would generally allow ten minutes for this. If the patient is conscious, we allow 20 minutes. Staff will use discretion around these timings.

What happens if the virtual call gets cut off prematurely?

We will try and reconnect but may ring you directly.

Support for patients and families

Understanding common Covid treatments

A series of short films explain how patients are treated for Covid-19 in intensive care in our hospitals. The animations, which are available through the Explain my Procedure website, show what goes on in an intensive care unit or ICU, from the role of staff to common treatments such as mechanical ventilation and a tracheostomy.

Chaplaincy service

The chaplaincy team can offer confidential support and advice to relatives and carers as well as patients. They welcome everyone, whatever your faith or beliefs and whether or not you follow a religion.

Bereavement service 

The bereavement service works with families whose loved ones have recently passed away. They can offer help with any legal paperwork, practical information and advice. 

Please telephone the relevant hospital bereavement office (see contact numbers below). Unfortunately, the teams are unable to meet with you face to face at this time.

  • Newham Hospital: Tel: 020 7363 8056 or 020 7363 8055
  • St Bartholomew’s Hospital: Tel: 020 3465 5889 or 020 3465 6892
  • The Royal London Hospital: Tel: 020 3594 1050 or 020 3594 2030
  • Whipps Cross Hospital: Tel: 020 8535 6628

Our leaflet for bereaved families and friends offers help and support during difficult times.

Support for palliative and end of life patients

The team offer specialist and hospital based palliative care across the trust. Our multi-professional team gives specialist advice about symptom control as well as psychological and social support to patients, families, carers and staff.

In the early stages of illness, palliative care may be provided alongside other active treatments. For patients at the end of their life we are committed to appropriate end of life care to ensure comfort and dignity in death. Families, partners and carers may also need expert support in bereavement.

Coping with dying

Covid-19: bereavement support for families and carers

Coming to hospital if you are d/Deaf or hard of hearing

Help and support for d/Deaf and hard of hearing patients