How can we help someone having an endoscopy?

We will share resources on this webpage for carers or escorts of an endoscopy patient.stethoscope

It can be a nervous time for the person undergoing an endoscopy, and they will benefit from their carer or escort being prepared to help them through this experience.

Helping them with their nil by mouth or low fibre diet before the procedure, offering support and assistance on the day and being available for them after the appointment can make their experience much more pleasant.

Everybody is different so there is no one-size fits all advice, but by learning how we can help and listening to their needs, we can increase the likelihood of a successful endoscopy. 

Before the procedure

The person undergoing the endoscopy will be referred to the endoscopy department in Derriford hospital after having seen their GP/clinician or after taking a screening test. We will contact them by phone and send them a letter in the post.

Online resourcesillustration showing medicine

The person having an endoscopy may be feeling nervous about their procedure. We can help them to feel better by empathising and trying to behave in ways which will help them.

Some people may want to read information about their procedure so that they can prepare themselves; we have information about endoscopy and more links to procedures on our ‘I’m an endoscopy patient’ webpage. They may find it helpful for you to watch our videos and read through the information with them, or they may find it more helpful if you direct them to the webpage and allow them to learn about the procedure by themselves. We can ask what they would prefer and be willing to adapt if they change their mind.

A carer or escort who learns about an endoscopy procedure may be able to improve the support they can give a patient by having a better understanding of their experience. Information about endoscopy can be found on our ‘I’m an endoscopy patient’ webpage.illustration showing a heart monitor

Colonoscopy bowel preparation

We will tell them about the low fibre diet they need to follow if they are having a colonoscopy. You could help them at this stage by looking through the lists of foods they can and can’t have and helping them incorporate these foods into their meals. Changing what we eat can be challenging for a lot of people, we have resources available to help our patients choose the correct low fibre foods before their procedure. If they are finding it difficult to choose foods, you can show them our webpage which we have made to help patients think of meal ideas called low fibre diets.

Gastroscopy nil by mouth

Gastroscopy patients will need to be nil by mouth before their procedure. We can help to support them by understanding that this can be uncomfortable and listening to their needs. Being nervous, stressed or in discomfort may mean they may need help doing tasks which they would normally be able to complete independently.

On the day of the procedure

On the day of the procedure, we can support the patient by eliminating stressful tasks. Alternatively, they may wish to continue without any support so that they have tasks to focus on instead of thinking about the procedure; if appropriate we can still be available to step in and help if we need to.

We can help the person having a procedure by making sure they have everything they need for their appointment. It may be more challenging to remember everything they will need for their appointment if they are in discomfort or they are feeling nervous. We could help by taking some responsibility for gathering the things they will need and helping them keep track of time.

They will need;

- their consent form.

- to be wearing comfortable clothes which they can put on and take off easily.

- A dressing gown or something comfortable which will cover them after they get changed into a hospital gown.

- a book or magazine to read while they wait.

- Glasses if they need them to read and write.

- A case to protect dentures if they wear them.

- If they have special dietary requirements, they may wish to bring some food or drink items which they can have while they are recovering in the unit.


As a carer or escort, we can help with transport to and from the hospital. Parking at the hospital, finding the department and signing a patient in can sometimes take longer than expected so leaving in plenty of time is advised. Information about travelling to the hospital can be found on our endoscopy page titled transport and parking for endoscopy.

While the patient is in the hospital

If you can come to the department with the person having the procedure you can stay with them in the first waiting room before they go into the clinical area of the unit.

If the patient does not have the capacity to consent to medical treatment themselves, we will need the person who can give their consent to be present. We will need this person to sign a consent form and be present until the patient is moved to the clinical area of the department.   

After they move into the clinical area of the department you can leave the hospital, however, if you are the person collecting the patient, we suggest that you remain no more than 20 minutes away.

Waiting times in the hospital can be difficult to predict. The patient will be assigned to a particular endoscopist. If the endoscopist they have been assigned to has a lot of difficult procedures scheduled, their waiting time may be longer than expected. Delivering the best health outcomes for every patient means sometimes we need to spend longer than unexpected on patients. Unfortunately, this means it is very difficult for us to say when you will need to return to collect the person having the procedure.

Collecting from department

We will call you when the person having the procedure is ready to be collected from the department. We will need you to collect them from the unit.

If they have had the conscious sedation, they will not be able to drive or take public transport. They can go home in a car or taxi if they are accompanied by a carer or escort.

Staying with them

If the person having the procedure has had conscious sedation, they will need someone to stay with them for 24 hours. They also will not be able to drive, sign important documents or go to work for 24 hours.

Conscious sedation has different effects for different people. Lots of people say that they don’t remember the procedure immediately after it has happened and that they start to remember pieces of the procedure days later. If they are forgetful or confused, we can help by being patient with them and aware of their needs.

A quote from the endoscopy department reads, we will support you every step of the way.

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