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Visitors, weekend leave and practicalities

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Visitors, weekend leave and practicalities

Gowers welcomes the contribution visitors and carers make to the well-being of our patients. We offer flexible visiting times but our nursing team are responsible for deciding if any visiting restrictions are required on a daily basis.

Visiting times are between 10am and 8pm. Outside of these hours, please speak to the nurse in charge to agree alternative times. We have protected meal times which visitors are asked to respect. Children visiting the ward must be accompanied by a responsible adult.

Carers are encouraged to participate in the care of their relative or friend and can visit freely.

Individuals who have previously been patients on Gowers are able to visit at the discretion of the nurse in charge but may be asked to attend with a responsible adult who is able to support them if necessary.

All visitors are required to sign the visitor’s book on arrival. Our Admissions Department can provide information on local bed and breakfast accommodation if required. Please be aware that visitors are required to pay for this accommodation.

Overnight accommodation

Epilepsy Society no longer offers bed and breakfast facilities at its site in Chalfont St Peter, Buckinghamshire.  Anyone seeking temporary accommodation while visiting Epilepsy Society may find the following list of alternative accommodation helpful.

Please note that these references are provide as suggestions, not recommendations, and Epilepsy Society holds no affiliation with them.

Weekend leave

It can occasionally be possible to arrange periods of weekend leave from Friday to Sunday. This would need to be agreed in advance with the nursing and medical staff on Gowers. It is not usually advisable to take weekend leave if you are undergoing changes to your medication. It is not possible to reclaim travel expenses for periods of weekend leave.

Weekend leave is usually from 2pm on Friday to 9pm on Sunday.

We ask that you do not take weekend leave during the first seven days of your assessment or if you are in the process of medication changes.


Breakfast: 8am – 9am (Monday – Friday) and 8am – 10am (weekends)   Cereals, toast, fruit and yoghurt.

Lunch: 12.30pm Hot and cold food selection, with vegetarian options and a selection of desserts.

Tea: 5.30pm Hot and cold food selection with vegetarian options.

Please let us know at least seven days before you come to stay if you have any special dietary requirements so that we can make arrangements for your food.

What to do if someone has a seizure

If you see other people having seizures during your stay please do not intervene. Staff are trained in managing seizures and in first aid.

What facilities are available?

  • The unit accommodates both men and women. However, you will not share a room, bathroom or toilet with someone of the opposite sex. It is not possible to allocate a room number or type of room before your admission.
  • Toilets are located in the day room, outside the dining room and near the bedrooms. All toilets are wheelchair accessible and large enough for those needing supervision or assistance.
  • There is a large day room with two televisions, a pool table, puzzles, table football and a sensory/chill out room.
  • Hand gel is located outside the doors of all communal areas and in each bedroom.
  • We will provide all of your meals taking into account your special dietary requirements. Please note there are no cooking facilities available for patients.
  • There is a coffee shop on site. Please ask a member of staff if you would like to visit the coffee shop or go for a walk as you may need to be accompanied. This is often more manageable in the afternoons when there may be more staff available.
  • An interpreter service is available if needed. Some staff are familiar with Makaton.
  • Manual handling equipment including hoists are available for patients who need support with transferring.
  • There is a large bath available for disabled individuals who are unable to use the shower—this can be used under the supervision of our nursing staff.

What to bring with you

  • Your admission letter;
  • Your current contact, next of kin and GP details;
  • Your glasses, hearing aids (and spare batteries), dentures (with labelled container) and any mobility aids, wheelchair or other specialist medical equipment;
  • All your current medication (anti-epileptic drugs and any other medication you take). Our pharmacy carries a limited number of medications and ordering can take 48 hours;
  • Sufficient clean clothing to last for the duration of your stay on the unit, including night wear, slippers, a dressing gown, an outdoor coat and shoes;
  • During the summer, you may want to bring sunglasses, sun hat and sun cream.
  • Towels and wash bag with your usual toiletries (such as toothbrush and toothpaste, hair brush, flannel, soap, sanitary items and shaving gear). Hair conditioner helps to remove EEG electrode glue.
  • All of our bedrooms have a single wardrobe and several small drawers to keep your belongings in. We are unable to store large suitcases but you should keep an overnight bag with you in case you need to be transferred to another hospital.

Electrical items

Small electrical items such as a hairdryer, shaver or personal stereo (with headphones) are permitted but they must be checked by our electricians before use. You can bring a mobile phone, tablet computer or laptop. Wi-Fi is available to connect to the internet and our administrator can provide you with a code to access this. Televisions are not permitted.

Safety and security of your belongings

UCLH Trust does all it can to keep the ward as safe and as secure as possible; please note that the hospital will not be liable for any personal property loss or theft if the item has not been handed in for safekeeping to staff. Please do not bring valuable items or large amounts of cash into the unit.Safe storage areas are provided in rooms and you can also keep your valuables locked in these. Please bring a £5 deposit for keys which will be refunded to you when you leave. Please keep your property safe on the unit and label all of your belongings with your name.


Sir William Gowers Centre is a no smoking centre. There is a designated area outside the centre where smoking is allowed.

When you leave

When you are discharged from the centre, please make sure that:

  • you have had all of your appointments
  • you arrange transport home, by 12 noon the day before
  • you have any tablets that you need to take home with you
  • you have packed all your belongings

Please complete a patient satisfaction survey before you leave.


The following information will help you to prepare for your outpatient appointment at the Sir William Gowers Centre. If you have any questions about your appointment, please contact us on 01494 601435.


While at the Sir William Gowers Centre we will do everything we can to make you comfortable. The following information will help you to prepare for your visit. If you have any questions about your stay, please contact us on 01494 601 480.

Day case admissions

You may be asked to come to the Sir William Gowers Centre as a day case admission. You will not be required to stay overnight so will not need to bring an overnight bag with you. However, you should bring your medication and continue to take it as normal.