Rotherham Major Trauma information for patients and carers

We understand that coming to the Trauma Unit can be a very frightening and stressful experience. This information will explain what major trauma is, and what may happen when someone has had major trauma.

We aim to give you as much information, advice and support as possible, and to help you to understand what is happening before, during and after a major trauma stay. 

As everyone’s trauma is different, the treatments and care will vary. If you think of any questions you wish to ask, write them down and don’t hesitate to ask them to a member of the team.

What is major trauma?

The term major trauma is used to describe multiple serious injuries that could result in significant physical harm or death. These might include serious head, chest, abdominal and skeletal injuries as a result of accidents, sport or violence.

What happens when someone has ‘major trauma’?

An assessment is made by a medical professional on whether the injuries can be treated at a local trauma unit, or at a Major Trauma Centre.

What is the difference between the Rotherham Trauma Unit and a Major Trauma Centre (MTC)?

There are a number of local Trauma Units in the South Yorkshire region, these are in Rotherham, Doncaster, Barnsley and Bassetlaw. It may be necessary for someone to be sent to the MTC at Sheffield Teaching Hospital, depending on how bad the injuries are. A MTC is a hospital which has the best available skills and equipment to treat patients who have the most serious injuries. In some cases, patients are taken to the nearest hospital and are then transferred to the MTC for specialist care.

The Trauma Unit at The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust can deliver immediate trauma care and follow-up rehabilitation. 

What can I expect when I first arrive at the Trauma Unit?

Having arrived at the Trauma Unit, every patient is assessed for all of their injuries. Patients with serious injuries may be transferred to the resuscitation area of the Emergency Department where the Trauma Team will begin their own assessments. There may be a lot of people performing a lot of tasks at the same time; this is to find out how bad the injuries are, quickly. This can be frightening to see but is necessary to ensure the best care is given.

Can carers be there when assessments are done?

Unfortunately, carers/family cannot be present at the first assessment as the team must focus solely on the immediate needs of the patient. A member of the medical team will provide regular updates to family and friends when they are able to. When the team has more information about the injuries and the level of care needed, the patient will be transferred to another area for continued care. If other family or friends have also been injured, we will try to keep you updated on their progress, with their permission.

What happens to any personal belongings?

Any property that is brought to the hospital will be put in bags and labelled with the patient’s details. Property should stay with the patient in the Emergency Department. Some valuables may be put into the hospital safe, or ideally sent home with the patient’s Next of Kin for security. In circumstances where the police are involved, they will follow their procedures. This may include retaining property for evidence for forensic evaluation and taking statements. If the police are involved with the incident they will keep you updated with the progress of the case. You will have been issued with an incident number and password that will be in your medical notes. If you need to speak to the police at any time regarding the incident, please inform the medical staff.


The nursing staff are on duty to care for patients 24 hours a day. The nurses play an important role in direct care delivery and linking all members of the medical team so that your care is planned and co-ordinated. If you have any worries or questions whilst in hospital please speak to the nursing staff.


The consultant is responsible for a patient’s medical care and leads a team of doctors, who will review medical plans. The consultant will discuss injuries and treatment with you. Medical staff are available 24 hours per day. However, please be aware that overnight, this can be on an ‘on-call’ basis.

Trauma Keyworker

Each patient is allocated a staff Keyworker the day after the incident. The Keyworker will be a single point of contact for any information you may need regarding your injuries. This will be a member(s) of the Trauma Co-ordinator Service. They will take an overview of the patient’s care, ensuring all specialities involved are aware of anything needed, and will provide information regarding hospital care. If a Keyworker has not been allocated and you feel that input from the service is needed, please ask the nursing staff to contact the team. You can also contact the team directly using the contact numbers at the end of this information. If required, your Keyworker will discuss a transfer back to your local hospital.

What happens to any children affected by the incident?

If you have children that were involved in the incident, they may have been taken to Sheffield Children’s Hospital’s Major Trauma Centre. If this is the case, we will allocate a staff member (Keyworker) to speak to staff at the Children’s Emergency Department to keep you informed. If you have any children who are affected by a major trauma event, you may want to inform or speak to the child’s GP about any questions or concerns you have. You may also want to inform the child’s education provider. You can speak about this with the allocated staff member.

What will happen for ongoing care?

Patients are transferred to a ward best suited to their injuries and the level of care needed. Some people are transferred more than once during their hospital stay. This is normal and is done to ensure they are receiving care appropriate to their needs.

Ward and hospital information

Meals / Nutrition 

Our mealtime service includes: 

  • breakfast 
  • lunch 
  • evening meal 
  • hot and cold beverages throughout the day

If you have a food allergy or intolerance and are concerned about the content of any of the foods provided to you during your stay, please ask a member of the ward team for advice. There may be occasions when you are away from the ward at mealtimes or perhaps unable to eat the meal provided. Should this be the case, we can offer a range of snack items, or light meal alternatives.

Special dietary requirements 

The hospital can cater for a range of dietary requirements. Please speak to a member of the ward team for this information.

Visiting times 

Hospital visiting hours are between 8am and 8pm. However, some wards have different visiting times to suit the needs of their patients. Information about visiting times for the ward you are staying on will be displayed at or near to the ward entrance. If you are unsure, please speak to the Nurse in Charge. Outside the normal ward visiting times, visiting may be possible if it is agreed with the ward staff in advance. 

Carers of people with dementia, delirium, learning disabilities and autism are welcomed at anytime and overnight stays can be arranged where needed by the Nurse in Charge. Other conditions can also be considered for reasonable adjustments to visiting.

Can children visit? 

In the interest of other patients, children under the age of 12 should not visit the hospital. Please speak to the Nurse in Charge for exceptional circumstances.

Can relatives stay overnight? 

Please speak to the Nurse in Charge.

Where can family and friends stay locally?

The Welcome to Yorkshire website provides information for a wide range of accommodation providers including hotels, bed and breakfast and self-catering apartments.


‘Pay on foot’ parking is in operation across the hospital and parking charges apply. Concessions are available for cancer patients, frequent attenders, parents staying overnight with their children on a ward and family members or carers who have a relative/dependent in the hospital for a period longer than 7 days. If you feel you qualify for a concession, please ask ward staff for a concessions form to confirm you are eligible.

Public transport 

The hospital is served by a number of public transport services. Please speak with the Keyworker service / ward staff and they will be able to advise you of the most appropriate service.


The hospital has a strict non-smoking policy within hospital buildings and in the grounds. The use of e-cigarettes are permitted outside of the hospital.
Stopping smoking free help and support for stopping smoking is available by contacting Get Healthy Rotherham.

Spiritual care and facilities 

The hospital Chaplaincy Team provides spiritual care and religious support for patients and their carers. The team consists of Chaplains from the main Christian traditions, a Muslim Chaplain, and a Buddhist Chaplain. The Chaplains are assisted by a range of trained volunteers. Chaplains are available to all patients. You do not have to be religious to ask for Chaplaincy support. If you’re on a ward and would like to see a Chaplain, or attend a chapel service, please ask a member of ward staff to contact them.


Following any major traumatic event, you may benefit from a range of rehabilitation (or therapy) treatments. Treatment or therapy can include rehabilitation both for the body and the mind to help you recover from your trauma. Patients can be assessed and given treatment as inpatients or outpatients or referred to a more specialist therapy unit dependent on individual needs. Some patients do not require any ongoing rehabilitation. Rehabilitation requires patient participation. Please discuss your rehabilitation plan with your therapist.

How long will I have to stay in hospital?

Each patient will require different lengths of stay in hospital dependent on their injuries and the need for surgery, recovery and rehabilitation. Please discuss your length of stay with your medical team and therapist.

Life after trauma: Returning home

Planning to go home and for any follow-up care needed will be discussed with patients and family members. Depending on the nature of the injuries, Occupational Therapists and Physiotherapists may conduct assessments before someone returns home. The results of these assessments will be discussed with you to make sure going home is done safely.

Repatriation (going back to a local hospital)

If someone is not in a hospital that is local to them, they could be transferred to a more local hospital. This is something that can be discussed with the medical team or the Trauma Co-ordination Team.

When can major trauma patients go back to work / education?

The timing, and ability to go back to work and education will depend on how well someone recovers following their injury. Some things you will want to consider before returning to work include: 

  • Keeping an employer / education provider up to date whilst in hospital and during rehabilitation.
  • Making an appointment with a GP to discuss return to work plans. 
  • Ensuring you provide employers with a ‘Fit Note’ for time off work and also when you return to work. Speak to your consultant or GP about this. 

Discussing with your therapist any reasonable adjustments you may need in the workplace / or to be put in place by your education provider. For further information please refer to the After Trauma website


Driving after an injury

If you have an injury that could affect your fitness to drive, you must inform the Drivers Medical Unit of the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority), and your insurance company. If you are unsure, your doctor will have access to the rules and will be able to advise you. It is the driver’s responsibility to inform the DVLA. Failure to do so is a criminal offence and could invalidate your insurance. Driving and car assessments are available for anyone who has any medical condition which is likely to impact on their driving mobility. Please discuss with your Keyworker about your nearest centre.

Returning to leisure activities

Your injury may affect your ability to be involved with certain leisure activities. If you have any concerns about this, please seek advice from your medical team and therapist responsible for your care.


If you have any questions regarding any travel plans including flying please speak to your medical team or a member of the Trauma Co-ordination Team.

Relatives of patients with traumatic injuries

Traumatic events can affect all family members. Family routines can be disrupted and relationships affected. It is important that you also look after yourself during this time: 

  • For relatives it is important to remember to allow yourself time for reflection and rest.
  • Keep well hydrated and seek support where required.
  • If you do stay in the hospital for long periods of time, make sure you take regular breaks to allow yourself and your relative time to recover.
  • Ask for help from your family and friends.
  • Speak to the staff involved if you are finding the situation overwhelming and require support. The Keyworker service is here to help patients and families after major traumatic events. Please contact them for assistance.
  • Ask questions and stay informed. We are keen to keep you involved and will keep you as updated as possible. If you have any questions about your relative’s care or the injuries they have sustained then feel free to ask.
  • It may be useful to keep a log of things you are told or any questions you may have.

Discharge planning

When you are due to be discharged from the hospital, the Trauma Co-ordination Team can offer a ‘discharge interview’. This is an opportunity for you to discuss your injuries, management plan of your injuries, any operations you have had, future plans for your injuries, any other issues you have, or answer any questions. Please speak with your Keyworker or a member of the Trauma Co-ordination Team if this is something you would like. It is also possible for you to have a ‘Walk through the hospital’ tour. This is a way of you learning about what has happened to you from admission to discharge and help you understand your journey through the hospital. Please speak with the Trauma Co-ordination Team or your Keyworker if this is something you feel would be beneficial.

Useful organisations

After Trauma 

After Trauma provides peer and professional support. It is the only online community in the UK dedicated to the needs and experiences of people impacted by traumatic injuries. There is an app available for this service. 


There are other websites and online communities where people share their stories of illness and recovery which can include trauma. These can be found through common search engines. - Disability benefits

The website provides information on how to apply for carer and disability benefits.

Citizens Advice Bureau 

Citizens Advice offers an online chat and face to face service. For more information visit the Citizens Advice website or call 03444 111 444 


Samaritans provides confidential, unbiased emotional support, 24 hours a day, for people who feel distressed, desperate or suicidal. 
Call their helpline on 08457 90 90 90

Assist Trauma Care 

Assist Trauma Care offers therapeutic help to adults and children, individuals and families, affected by a wide range of traumatic occurrences. Assist therapists work with both the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and also with traumatic bereavement and grief. This is a chargeable service. 
Visit their website or call their helpline on 01788 560800 

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  • Page last reviewed: 22 January 2023
  • Next review due: 22 January 2024