Patient Experience

Patient Experience

Patient information guide


Welcome to St James’s Hospital

This patient information booklet will help advise you of the services and resources that are available to you as an inpatient in St James’s Hospital.

About us
St James’s Hospital is Ireland’s largest acute academic teaching hospital and is based in Dublin’s south inner city. Our fundamental purpose is the delivery of health treatment, care and diagnosis as well as health promotion and preventative services at local, regional and national levels. Our academic partner is Trinity College Dublin.

We provide acute, emergency, specialist services and residential care across a vast range of medical and surgical specialties and place a high emphasis on excellence of delivery, research, innovation and education.
St James’s Hospital is committed to improving the health outcomes and experiences of its patients through the leadership of staff and by working with our partners in healthcare.

Showing respect and kindness towards everyone

Patient admission information

Overnight stay

Once your name is added to a waiting list for admission by a doctor, you will be offered a provisional date for your surgery/ procedure. A letter with all relevant information will be sent to you, including the date for your admission to St James’s Hospital. This date is subject to change, depending on bed availability on the day. You will be asked to contact the Bed Management Department (phone number will be provided) at 11am on the day you are due to be admitted. This is to allow us to:

  • Confirm that you are still available to attend the hospital.
  • Get a contact number from you so that the staff can contact you when/ if a bed is available.
  • Allow us to ascertain if you have any special requirements.

Due to the high volume of emergency admissions to the hospital, it is possible that a bed may not be available for you. If this happens, we will work with your healthcare team to have your surgery/procedure rescheduled as early as possible. Please note that every effort will be made to facilitate your admission as planned.
If your planned surgery is scheduled for the same day as your admission, it is important to arrive at the time specified to you and that you have followed the appropriate pre-admission instructions i.e. fasting or medication information, as discussed with you by your nurse or doctor.


What to bring with you for your admission to hospital:

  • Medical card/ health insurance details – needed for your registration.
  • Sleepwear and slippers with a non-slip sole and any equipment you need during your stay e.g. eyeglasses, hearing aids, CPAP machine or prosthetics.
  • Toiletries.
  • All current medications (you will be asked to send these home after they have been checked). What to bring with you for your admission to hospital:
  • Telephone/mobile number of two different contact people.

Please do not bring:

  • Large sums of money.
  • Jewellery.
  • Any valuable items.
    The hospital cannot accept responsibility for loss or damage to any personal property at any time.

You will be accommodated in a four or six-bedded ward. Single rooms are not guaranteed as these are used for clinical reasons, such as where isolation is required for infection prevention and control reasons.
You may be moved to a different bed or ward if your clinical condition changes, or to accommodate other patients’ clinical conditions. This can happen at any time during your stay. Your co-operation is very much valued.

St James’s Hospital recognises your right to make decisions freely about your treatment and care. Throughout your stay in hospital you will be asked to provide your consent (agreement) to treatments and services. Your healthcare team will provide you with information, explanations and answer your questions in relation to any planned surgeries or procedures; after which you will be asked to give your consent verbally or by signing a form.
If you have questions or would like any
additional information in relation to any aspect of your treatment and care, please ask a member of our staff. You have the right to consent or decline treatments and services offered to you.
Because St James’s Hospital is a teaching hospital and a leading centre for healthcare research, you may be invited to participate in a research project or study. Your consent to specifically participate in research will be sought by the Research Lead and your decision will not impact on your treatment and care.

Know your medicines
Here are a few questions you could ask about your medicines:

  • What medicines do I need to keep taking after I go home and for how long?
  • Have any been added, stopped or changed, and why?
  • How should I take my medications?
  • How will I know if they are working and what side effects do I watch for?

During your stay if you have any questions about your medications, please speak with your ward pharmacist.

Patient meal times

Meal times

Protected mealtimes are in place to ensure that when meals are provided, unnecessary interruptions are avoided on the ward. Protected mealtimes mean the nurses and healthcare assistants can give you the time and assistance to eat and drink.
We ask patients to restrict the number of family members telephoning the wards during mealtimes. This is to help you enjoy your food uninterrupted.


Visiting the hospital

Hospital staff will facilitate visiting in pre-arranged circumstances only. We aim to facilitate visits for all patients, in as much as the hospital has the capacity to provide safe and fair visiting.
Please contact the Nurse in Charge on your ward/unit.
Our support staff are notified daily of patients for whom visiting has been arranged for and by whom. No other visitors will be permitted access to the hospital.
Children are not allowed to visit the hospital unless this is discussed and pre-arranged with the Nurse in Charge.
The hospital supports scheduled visiting to protect patients, visitors and staff and to ensure that the hospital can continue to provide vital services for all patients.

What if my family needs to talk to the doctor or nurse?

Ask a member of your family to phone the Nurse Manager of your ward to speak with them or a doctor on your healthcare team. Please let the Nurse Manager know that it is okay for the doctor or nurse to share information with the named family member about your care.

How does my family organise a visit?

Please ask the ward Nurse Manager if a visit is possible or ask your family member to phone the ward Nurse Manager to enquire when a visit is possible. Your healthcare team will discuss with you and perform a risk assessment prior to making a decision.
The visiting restrictions in place at St James’s Hospital are in line with national guidelines and are constantly under review by hospital management.
These guidelines are subject to the ability of the hospital to manage visiting safely. See: 

Patient property drop-off/ collection service

During this time of restricted visiting, the hospital has arranged a drop-off and collection service for essential items, such as laundry, toiletries or reading materials. Family members/ friends can drop off or collect items at the blue canopy area (see map below) between 12pm-6pm daily. Items received will be delivered to the wards between 4pm - 6.30pm.

If you would like to arrange to send items home, please speak to a nurse on your ward.

Please note that valuable or breakable items cannot be accepted as part of this service. The hospital cannot accept responsibility for loss or damage to any personal property at any time.

Items going out from the hospital, such as laundry, will be collected from each ward daily and be brought to the collection point for collection between 12pm – 6pm daily. Due to limited space available, and infection control limitations, any item not collected within 24 hours will be destroyed.


Staying in touch with your family and friends

We regret that you cannot have regular visits from family and friends. Please remember that there are other ways to stay in contact with them:

  • Make sure you have access to your own phone, including a phone charger.
  • Phone your family and friends regularly, so they know how you are doing.
  • You can also try to video call them through FaceTime, Skype or WhatsApp. The hospital’s free Wi-Fi service is available in most areas. Ask a staff member for assistance.
  • If you do not have your own electronic device to make a video call, please ask the staff on your ward who will be happy to arrange a video call for you. Mobile devices are available on the ward.
  • You could also write a letter or a card. The administrator on your ward will post it for you.

Other ways your loved ones can communicate with you during your admission.

They can send an email to and we will print it and deliver it to your bedside. Why not ask them to include pictures too, to help brighten up your day? Your messages will be delivered within 24 hours. Messages received at the weekend or bank holidays will be delivered on the next working day.

Thinking of you

Infection Prevention and Control

How to avoid getting an infection in hospital

How to avoid getting an infection in hospital:

  • Wash your hands, especially before eating and after using the bathroom. If you cannot get to a sink, ask your nurse for some antibacterial hand gel. You can also ask for a hand hygiene leaflet.
  • Where possible, wear a mask.
  • When coughing or sneezing make sure to use a tissue and turn away from people around you.
  • Avoid touching any medical devices attached to you, for example wounds or drips.
  • Limit the amount of personal belongings you bring to the hospital and do not share with other patients. This makes it easier to clean around your bed space.
  • If you know you had an infection when you were previously in hospital, let your nurse or doctor know (before you are admitted to hospital). Some examples of infection might be MRSA or CPE.
  • If you develop diarrhoea or vomiting, please inform a staff member.
  • If you notice an area on the ward that looks dirty, please inform a staff member.

Hospital Facillities.jpg

Planning your discharge from hospital

Every effort will be made to prepare you and your family for you going home. Your discharge plan will start from your time of admission and you will be given an estimated date of discharge as soon as it is medically possible to do so. All the healthcare professionals involved in your care plan will work together with you to get you home in a safe and timely manner.
The hospital operates a 24-hour, seven-day service and once you are assessed as medically fit to be discharged, you may be discharged at short notice. It is advisable therefore to think about and plan arrangements for your discharge in advance, such as:

  • How will you get home?
  • Do you have your house keys?
  • Have you informed your nominated contact person that you are being discharged?
  • Try to send as much personal property as possible home in advance of your discharge.

On the day of your discharge you may be transferred to the Patient Flow Lounge while waiting for your discharge arrangements to be completed, or while you wait to be collected. The Patient Flow Lounge is a supervised comfortable waiting area.
On discharge you will receive a discharge summary letter for your GP and, if required, a prescription, outpatient appointment and/ or a medical certificate. If you are unsure or have any concerns about your discharge plan you should talk to your nurse or any of your healthcare team members.


Smoking Cessation Service


Smoking Cessation Service

St James’s Hospital’s Smoking Cessation Service is available to all of our patients who wish to stop smoking. Our goal is to provide support and advice to help smokers quit tobacco use for good.
The service is free of charge and includes:

  • Individual inpatient and outpatient consultations and follow-up support after a hospital stay.
  • Six-week stop smoking programme.

St James’s Hospital is a no smoking or vaping campus. Smokers can avail of nicotine replacement therapy to manage their withdrawal symptoms during their hospital stay. Please ask a member of your healthcare team to refer you to the service or contact our Smoking Cessation Clinical Nurse Specialist, Carmel Doherty at: 


End of Life Care

End of Life Care

The staff at St James’s Hospital aim to provide the highest standard of End of Life Care. The end of life symbol (right) is displayed when a patient is dying or has died in the area or ward. When we see the symbol we are reminded that an intensely personal moment is happening for another patient and their family. Seeing the symbol alerts us to show dignity and respect for them. The symbol is inspired by ancient Irish history and is not associated with any one religion or denomination.

LGBTQI+ Inclusion

LGBTQI+ Inclusion

As a hospital, we are proud to show through the rainbow flag, that we are striving to be an LGBTQI+ inclusive community for all patients, visitors and staff. When you see the rainbow colours in the hospital you will know it is a safe space for any person to declare their sexual orientation or gender identity, if they choose to do so.

What is a Blood clot?

Blood clot alert card

Blood clot alert card 2

Your experience and providing feedback

Your health and wellbeing is our priority. We want your experience in the hospital to be safe and comfortable. Meeting your needs is important and happens best when patients, families and healthcare workers work together. We want to listen to you and learn from your experience.
Your feedback is used to plan our services and make improvements. There are many ways to give feedback. You can give your feedback to:

  • The healthcare workers who are caring for you.
  • The hospital’s Patient Experience Office or Complaints Manager.
  • The hospital’s Patient Representative Group, by becoming a member.
  • The National Care Experience Programme.

Feedback and complaints

If you have a compliment, concern or wish to make a complaint, please speak to a staff member or the person in charge of the ward or department. We hope that most issues can be resolved easily and quickly by doing this.
If this is not possible and you want to make a formal complaint you can contact the Patient Experience Office by email, telephone or in writing using the contact details below. The Patient Experience Office works with the hospital’s staff to review the concerns and experiences you report. We will use your feedback to continue doing what we do well and to make improvements where necessary.

Write to:
Complaints Officer
Patient Experience Office
Quality and Safety Improvement Directorate
St James’s Hospital
James Street
Dublin 8
Telephone: (01) 410 3361 / 428 4248

Contact persons and your privacy

At the time of your admission and throughout your hospital stay, you will be asked to provide the name and contact details of a person or persons that you are happy for the hospital to contact in either the event of an emergency or where the hospital needs to inform them about an aspect of your treatment and care.

Staff will ask you for this information by asking you for the name of a ‘contact person’ or perhaps by asking you for the name of your ‘next-of-kin’. The name is likely to be the name of a spouse, partner, child or carer.

Where possible, please provide the name and current contact details of just one single contact person that the hospital can use if needed.
Providing the hospital with one single point of contact helps us to protect your right to privacy. St James’s Hospital cannot legally share your personal or clinical (health) information with any other person without your explicit consent (agreement) to do so. Accordingly, information about you cannot be shared with persons who might call to make enquiries about you.

When in hospital you can further protect your privacy by asking family members and/ or friends to direct any queries that they have related to your hospitalisation to the person you have identified as your contact person.

Patient Representative Group

Patients, family members or carers can be a member of the hospital’s Patient Representative Group. The members regularly meet healthcare workers and hospital managers. They share their experiences and discuss improvement projects, new services, patient information materials, facilities and policies and strategies. Sharing your experience could make a difference.
For further information and an application form please contact:
Patient Experience Office
Quality and Safety Improvement Directorate
St James’s Hospital
James’s Street
Dublin 8
Telephone: (01) 410 3361 / 428 4248

Emergency Department

What to expect when attending the Emergency Department

On arrival, you will be guided through a registration process, during which your details (name, date of birth, address, phone number) will be recorded. It is extremely important that we have the correct, up to date contact details for you and your nominated contact person.

You will be assessed by a nurse. This process is called ‘triage’. We see all patients as quickly and efficiently as possible. Patients are treated in accordance with their clinical needs and are clinically prioritised to be seen by a doctor or advanced nurse practitioner based on their triage assessment.

Please note that patients who are triaged as less clinically urgent to be seen, may experience longer waiting times.

If you require admission to hospital you will be transferred to a ward as soon as a bed on the appropriate ward is available.


Our Security Department operates 24 hours a day, seven days per week, to ensure the safety and security of our patients, visitors and staff. The hospital’s CCTV cameras and alarm systems are monitored by our Security Control Facility.
What we do:

  • Provide the hospital with a dedicated 24-hour security control service.
  • Implement hospital policies and procedures including traffic management.
  • Crime prevention and investigation.
  • Work with wards and departments to prevent and assist with antisocial behaviour.
  • Issue staff identification cards and control access around the campus.
  • Lost and found property services.
  • Patient property service.

Out of hours queries should be emailed to
In an emergency, always call 999.

If you are coming to the hospital as a visitor or an inpatient:

• Only bring essential items to the hospital. Leave all valuables at home. If you have arrived at the hospital, pass valuables to relatives or friends to take home for you.
• Protect your personal belongings and do not leave valuable items in your vehicle.
• Report all suspicious incidents/ persons to a staff member.
Contact Details
Telephone: (01) 416 2107/ 416 2108

If you do not treat fellow patients, visitors and staff members with respect and dignity the hospital has the authority to exclude you from the organisation.