Accident and emergency departments
UHMBT operates two full Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments at Furness General Hospital and the Royal Lancaster Infirmary.
A&E is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week for serious and life-threatening conditions. These could include:
- loss of consciousness
- an acute, confused state
- fits that aren’t stopping
- chest pain
- breathing difficulties
- severe bleeding that can't be stopped
- severe allergic reactions
- severe burns or scalds
Urgent Treatment Centre
UHMBT also operates an Urgent Treatment Centre at Westmorland General Hospital.
Please note that the Urgent Treatment Centre at Westmorland General Hospital is not able to treat emergencies including chest pains, severe breathing difficulties, mental health issues or suspected strokes. Patients who experience these conditions need to be treated urgently so should either dial 999 or attend the nearest Emergency Department.
When you arrive to visit
If your relative or friend has been admitted as an emergency, it’s natural that you will be worried. They may not have had time to prepare for their stay so this section will explain how you can help and what you should bring in for them.
Please bear in mind that in the early days, visiting may be restricted to close family and friends only and to certain times of the day. To allow staff to devote more time to patient care, it is helpful to have one or two people as main contacts who can be given updates and pass this information to the rest of the family or friends.
We try to be flexible to meet each patient’s needs, so please speak to a nurse about when is best to visit.
Critical Care, the Acute Medical Unit and the Emergency Department can be busy environments, with lots of activity and noise that can be frightening and distressing for visitors. The doctors and nurses will explain your relative’s condition, plan of treatment and the equipment. If you forget any of the information you have been given please ask, the staff are always happy to give further explanations and information.
What your loved one might look like
Patients may have monitoring leads and equipment put on them when they are admitted so that staff can closely watch their heart rhythm, blood pressure and oxygen levels.
The person you care about is likely to look very different to how they would normally look and may have:
- lots of equipment attached to them
- a breathing tube in their mouth which is attached to a ventilator
- a swollen face and/or limbs
- been sedated and be sleepy or drowsy.
Despite the sedation, many patients respond to reassurance, such as a familiar voice or hand holding. The bedside nurse will make sure that you are able to be with your loved one without disturbing any of the monitoring equipment and can also tell you about the equipment and why it is needed.
Critically ill patients have a high risk of getting an infection. To help reduce this risk, please always clean your hands when you enter and leave the unit, by using the spray foam, alcohol gel or washing your hands.
If you are ill, please do not visit.
Some patients are at higher risk of infection than others or have an infection that needs isolating. These isolation rooms are restricted to close family and friends and you’ll be asked to take extra precautions in these rooms, such as wearing a mask, wearing a plastic apron and washing your hands using soap and water.
It is a general principle that a person has a right to consent to or refuse treatment. An ‘Advance Decision’ enables a person to refuse specified medical treatment at a time in the future when that person may lack capacity to consent to or refuse it. Any person with capacity who is 18 or older can make an Advance Decision but this will only apply at a time when the person lacks capacity.
There is no specific format for an Advance Decision but if it deals with life-sustaining treatment, it must be in writing and include a clear statement that it is to apply to the specific treatment even if life is at risk. It must also be signed and witnessed. It is recommended that people who are thinking about making an Advance Decision obtain independent advice; this is available from independent legal advisors and some charitable societies.
It is the responsibility of the person making the Advance Decision to make sure this is drawn to the attention of healthcare professionals. It is advisable that several people, including the person’s GP and family, have a copy of the Advance Decision stored with them or are made aware of its provisions.
You can arrange for a copy of an Advance Decision to be noted on your hospital records by sending a copy to:
FAO Sara Gabriel
Medical Records Manager
Peter Green Way
or by emailing Sara Gabriel, Medical Records Manager