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Privacy & Dignity

What you can expect during your hospital stay

1. That you will be addressed politely and respectfully, and will be called by your preferred name (please make sure you tell staff what you prefer to be called);

2. That you will be cared for in the most appropriate place according to your clinical (medical) needs;

3. That, except in times of clinical need, you will be cared for in a same-sex bay or ward;

4. That you will only share toilet and bathroom facilities with patients of the same sex;

5. That you will be listened to if you express concerns or ask questions of nursing or ward staff, and that staff will do their best to resolve those concerns;

6. That you may ask to be cared for by a nurse of the same sex and that every effort will be made to meet your request.

At Bedford Hospital we safeguard your privacy and dignity during your hospital stay by providing you with sleeping, toilet and washing facilities that you share only with patients of the same sex.

Same Sex Accommodation

What does same-sex accommodation mean?

Same-sex accommodation means only patients of the same sex (i.e. men or women) will sleep in the same bay or ward and use the same washing and toilet facilities. Some of the hospital’s wards are designated as same-sex only, which means the whole ward will contain only men or women. In other wards men and women will be separated into bays (separate areas containing a number of beds). These bays will have their own washing and toilet facilities which will be designated as women or men only. This means, for example, that a female patient will not need to walk past a male patient bay to get to a toilet or bathroom.

Why does the hospital have same-sex accommodation?

The hospital keeps male and female patients apart to maintain the privacy and dignity of patients, which is something patients tell us is extremely important to them.

Many patients feel vulnerable while in hospital and sharing sleeping, toilet and washing facilities can make patients feel distressed or anxious.

We have invested almost £500,000 in improving patient facilities to make sure we can offer our patients same-sex accommodation and facilities.

The Government also requires all hospitals to offer same-sex accommodation and facilities to patients by April 2010. We meet all national requirements and have gone a step further by improving our signage and information on same-sex accommodation to ensure our patients understand what facilities are available and where and how to access them.

Will I always be in same-sex accommodation?

The majority of patients will always be in same-sex accommodation. However, there will be occasions when it is not possible to care for patients in a same-sex environment. This is most likely to happen if a patient needs emergency or specialist care. In that situation clinical (medical) need will take priority over keeping the patient apart from other patients of the opposite sex. This is to make sure patients receive appropriate treatment as quickly as possible.

If you are placed in a bay with patients of the opposite sex, a nurse or doctor will explain why that has been necessary and make every effort to maintain your privacy whilst in that area. You will be moved to a same-sex area as soon as it is safe to do so.

If you feel you do not understand why you have been placed in a mixed-sex environment, or you are anxious about being in a mixed-sex area, please speak to a member of ward staff.

Download the hospital’s patient leaflet on privacy and dignity here.

Delivering Same Sex Accommodation Compliance Statement – Updated 8 April 2013

The NHS booklet Our Culture of Compassionate Care

The NHS booklet The 6 Cs

The 6 Cs And Dementia Care

Role Description For Dignity Champions

The Nursing & Midwifery Council booklet Care And Respect Every Time

Bedford Hospital Dignity Matters poster

Action plan for target groups

Age Concern England booklet Using The Toilet In Private

Decision aid for using the toilet in private

Behind closed doors standards

Our Culture of Compassionate Care

Bedford Hospital Code of Conduct 2011

NMC Guidance for the care of older people

Useful links:

National Dignity Council

Royal College of Nursing YouTube video