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Patients and carers

Hospital care

Patients and carers

Hospital care

Patients and carers

Hospital care

Patients and carers

Hospital care


The decision to admit you to hospital is usually made in your home, community mental health team base or GP surgery.

Some people admit themselves to hospital voluntarily and some are admitted under the Mental Health Act.

If you are very unwell, the police may bring you in to hospital. In either case, hospital staff will assess your mental health and decide if it is necessary for you to be admitted.

Every ward has different facilities, depending on the type of ward. Each one has a communal area, such as a lounge or dining room, and may also have an art or therapy area and relaxation or chill out room. If you are staying on a mixed sex ward there will be two clearly defined areas for men and women, with separate washing and sleeping areas. Some wards have bedrooms with ensuite facilities. You will also have your own bedroom.

Occupational therapy (OT) includes recreational activities, arts and crafts and drama therapy, as well as group classes on coping skills, assertiveness and relaxation. There will usually be a morning and afternoon session each weekday on your ward, although this does depend on which hospital and ward you are in.

Depending on your condition you may also have access to other services, such as film clubs and sports and fitness classes. Ask your key worker for more information about any events and activities taking place.

Being admitted to hospital in an emergency leaves little or no time to prepare. However, on other occasions you will have time to decide what to take. Generally, it's best not to bring too much to begin with. People can always bring more things for you later on.

It is best not to bring valuables such as jewellery, electrical equipment or your favourite clothes.

You should bring any medication you are taking. You should give this to the nursing staff when you arrive so they know the type and dose of medicine you are taking.

You should take a change of clothes with you, night things and toiletries. It's also worth remembering to have a list of important telephone numbers with you.

If possible, it can be helpful if a friend or relative can come with you and offer you support during the admission process. They may also be able to give the nursing staff useful information and make a note of anything you have forgotten to bring in.

Every ward has specific visiting hours. A member of the ward can tell you more. See the services finder of the website to find the ward's contact details.

Maudsley Hospital: There is limited pay and display parking at the front of the Maudsley Hospital on Denmark Hill. It is possible, though difficult, to park in some of the nearby streets. Using public transport is recommended if possible.

The Ladywell Unit at University Hospital Lewisham: There is limited pay and display parking within the hospital grounds. It is possible to park on the nearby streets but you will need to pay to do so. Using public transport is recommended if possible.

Bethlem Royal Hospital: There is a visitors' car park at Bethlem Royal Hospital.

Lambeth Hospital: There is only limited parking at the Lambeth Hospital. It is possible, though difficult, to park in some of the nearby streets.

For more about parking at our sites, visit our Hospital care pages. 

Most wards have a family room. Please check with ward staff before visiting with children.

We do not allow anything that might harm people on our wards. This includes aerosols, sharp objects, drugs and alcohol. If you are in any doubt please check with the ward staff.

If you are worried about how someone is being treated you should talk to a member of staff. If you are still unhappy you can speak to the ward manager or team leader.

You can also get confidential help and advice from our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS). Telephone number: 0800 731 2864.


If you feel your concerns still haven't been dealt with then you can make a formal complaint.