Easy read and communication support for healthcare and medical professionals

Sheffiled Children's NHS Trust



Hospital Procedures

Developed in association with Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust

A series of resources designed to help patients with learning difficulties understand the procedures, sequence of events and people associated with a visit to hospital.




Using the Materials

Using symbols as well as words helps children and adults with all abilities to make sense of what is happening to them in an often unfamiliar and frightening environment.

The materials can be used before the hospital visit, to introduce the patient to the procedures that are likely to take place and familiarise them with the symbols.

Although there may be minor differences in procedures from one hospital to another, the overall pattern will be very similar.

Each pack consists of a preparatory time-line leaflet, which is designed to be generic for use in a variety of settings, and accompanying conversational flashcards to provide flexibility in approach and cues for each step at the time of treatment.


The flashcards can be cut up and used as cue cards during the visit to prepare the patient for what is happening or going to happen next. They also allow the procedures to be practised at home prior to the visit.

A selection of the flashcards can be used to create an individual time-line on the day of surgery, to suit the needs of each patient. These can be arranged on a board or vertical strip on a wall, allowing the child to work through them in sequence and discard a symbol as each step is completed.

For patients requiring sedative premedication, flashcards can be used to encourage medicine to be taken. Eating, drinking and going home provide rewards at the end of the time-line..

example symbols


My Daycase Operation (Child)

This pack is made up of three elements:

  1. Child Daycase Operation - Booklet
    A time-line booklet which takes a step-by-step approach to the sequence of events and people a patient might meet during a trip to hospital for an operation.
  2. Child Daycase Operation - Flashcards
    A collection of conversational flashcards that repeat the symbols used in the booklet, along with some useful additional symbols.

  3. The Post-Operative Communication Chart

    This helps younger patients to demonstrate their feelings and what they want, even if they find it hard to say the words. Patients can easily point to the relevant information that they wish to communicate.

My Daycase Operation booklet for children

Daycase Operation booklet

Child Post-Operative Chart

Post-Operative Chart


My Daycase Operation (Adult)

This is a modified version of the daycase operation pack, made more suitable for use by adults with learning disability or a language or communication disorder.

It may also be useful to assist patients for whom English is not their first language in the absence of an interpreter. A post-operative communication chart for adults is also included to assist patients in describing their symptoms and needs.

My Daycase Operation booklet for adults

Daycase Operation booklet

Adult Post-Operative Chart

Post-Operative Chart

My Stay in Hospital for an Operation

This pack covers the preparation and processes associated with inpatient surgery, including post-operative care. It is designed with children in mind, but could also be used by adult patients. The leaflet describes the processes of admission, investigation and anaesthesia. The flashcards can be used flexibly to create a time-line for each post-operative day as required.

My stay in hospital booklet

My Stay in Hospital booklet

My stay in hospital flashcards

My Stay in Hospital flashcards

My Visit to the Hospital Clinic

This time-line leaflet and set of flashcards covers a visit to an outpatient clinic, allowing for the possibility of a variety of additional examinations, including sight or hearing tests, blood tests or a visit to the plaster room.

My visit to a clinic booklet

My Hospital Clinic Visit booklet

My visit to a clinic flashcards

My Hospital Clinic Visit flashcards

My Xray Test or Scan

This pack consists of a comprehensive set of time-lines covering the steps associated with investigations in the xray department. It is designed to assist patients who, with appropriate support, may be able to manage scans and investigations without anaesthesia or sedation, and includes CT and MRI scans, isotope, ultrasound, plain xrays and contrast tests.

Each section of the leaflet can be used independently as required. The flashcards allow an individualised approach at the time of the investigation, to include or remove steps as appropriate, e.g. cannulation for injection of a contrast agent.

My xray booklet

My Xray or Scan booklet

My xray Scan

My Xray or Scan flashcards

Preoperative Assessment (Adult)

This pack provides the information required for patients attending a preoperative assessment clinic and describes the various investigations which might be required. The time-line leaflet allows patients and carers to prepare in advance for the visit and flashcards allow flexibility of approach and cues for each required step on the day.

Preoperative Assesment booklet

Preoperative Assessment booklet

Preoperative Assesment flashcards

Preoperative Assessment flashcards

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