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During Your Stay at Southwest Medical Center

What to Bring

When you come to the hospital there are certain personal items and information that can make your stay more comfortable and provide your caregivers with important information they need to tailor your care to meet your needs. Items you should bring, include:

  • Personal items and clothing such as; pajamas, robe, skid resistant slippers, toothbrush, eyeglasses, hearing aides, reading material, playing cards, hairbrush, comb or shaving equipment. Any electrical equipment you bring must be checked by Plant Maintenance to ensure safety prior to use.
  • Information such as health care insurance, Advanced Directives, Living Wills and a list of current medications you are taking.

Items to be sent home or locked in our safe:

  • Valuables such as money, jewelry, credit cards and bankcards.

We will ask that any valuables brought to Peace Harbor Hospital be placed in our safe or taken home by a family member. Valuables may be withdrawn from the safe at the time of your discharge. We cannot be responsible for money, jewelry, credit cards or other valuables left in your room.

Participate in Your Care

At PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center our medical staff and employees are dedicated to providing care while preserving your dignity, privacy and respect. You are encouraged to actively participate in decisions regarding your care. The best way to start is by asking your doctor for information regarding:

  • Your care and condition in terms you can understand.

  • “Informed Consent” before the start of any procedure. Except in emergencies this information usually includes a description of the procedure, risks involved, how long you may be incapacitated and reasonable medical alternatives.

  • Medications you are taking.

  • Your continuing health requirements after you leave the hospital.

If you need to transfer to another facility, your physician will explain both the need and the alternatives available to you.

In addition to the doctor primarily responsible for your care you should ask for the names and relationships of all doctors who may be involved in your care. You may consult with another physician upon your request.

You may choose to refuse treatment and will be informed of the medical consequences of your refusal.

Preventing Infections in the Hospital

Infections can occur after many types of medical procedures. This is particularly true if you are having surgery. Following these 10 simple steps to prevent infections may help reduce your risk of complications.

  1. Wash your hands carefully with soap and water after handling any type of soiled material, after using the bathroom, if your hands are visibly dirty, or after leaving your room for any reason. Also, use hand gel before leaving the room. Encourage your visitors and family members to cleanse their hands when they visit.

  2. “It’s OK to Ask.” If you do not see a staff member cleansing their hands, it’s okay to remind them to do so before they take care of you.

  3. If you have diabetes, be sure that you and your doctor discuss the best way to control your blood sugar before, during and after your hospital stay. High blood sugar increases the risk of infection.

  4. Let your nurse know if the dressing on your intravenous catheter works loose or gets wet. Keep the area clean and dry.

  5. Let your nurse know if you have a dressing on a wound that works loose or gets wet.

  6. Let your nurse know if your drainage tube or catheter becomes loose or dislodged.

  7. If possible, ask your friends and relatives not to visit if they feel ill.

  8. Carefully follow your doctor’s instructions regarding breathing treatments and getting out of bed. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, advice or sufficient pain medications.

  9. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about your care so that you may fully understand your treatment plan and expected outcomes. You and your family or friends will be able to better facilitate your recovery.

  10. If you are a smoker, consider taking part in Southwest's smoking cessation program. This will reduce the chance of developing a lung infection while in the hospital and may improve your healing abilities following surgery. For more information, ask your nurse or physician.

Medication Safety

Medication errors can be very serious and lead to complications or worse. The good news is that patients and family members can help prevent medication errors. Here are some important things you should know. Monitor…your medications by keeping a complete list. Always take this list each time you see a health care provider. Ask…your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist to review (with you) their record and your list to make sure they match. Also, make sure you understand why you are taking every medication. Change the information on your list each time you start or stop taking a medication. Throw away medications you no longer take. Prevent…medication errors by adhering to this checklist:

  • Keep your medication list accurate.

  • Take your medication list each time you go to the hospital, emergency room, or clinic.

  • Keep a medication list with you when you travel.

  • If you are too sick to do so yourself, ask a family member to show the medication list to your doctors and nurses.

  • Make sure your family has your doctor’s name and phone number.

  • Keep your medication list in an accessible location so it is available in an emergency situation.

  • When you leave the hospital, talk with the doctor or nurse about the medications you will take at home.

  • Pick a single pharmacy in the community so they can check for potential drug interactions every time you submit a prescription.

Pain Control

Pain is both a medical symptom and a medical problem. Too much pain can slow healing. Pain is also very individual. If you are in pain, tell your nurse and be prepared to describe its location, sensation (dull, piercing), duration (when it started) and intensity on a scale of 1 to 10. Your caregivers want to treat your pain quickly and effectively.

Sharing Information About Your Condition

People who care about you may call the hospital asking about your status. To protect your privacy, it is our policy to not share any medical information over the phone. However, if callers ask if you are a patient here, we would tell them that you are unless you tell your nurse that you want “Do Not Announce” (DNA) status. This means our staff will not tell any visitors or callers, including immediate family, that you are here. You will not receive any mail or flowers.

Your Room

When you enter the hospital you will be assigned a room based on availability on the day of your admission and your diagnosis. All rooms are private and furnished with an adjustable bed, television and telephone. Each room has a private bathroom and closet for your clothes. For your safety, please observe these guidelines:

  • If you need help to lower bed rails, please call for assistance.
  • Always use bedroom slippers when out of bed.
  • Never use a bedside cabinet or over-bed table for support. It may move
    under your weight.
  • Be careful when walking on floors wet from cleaning. They may be slick.
  • Ask for assistance getting in and out of a wheelchair.
  • Please tell your nurse about any unsafe conditions.

Going Home

PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center provides discharge planning for all patients. The Discharge Planner will assist in making your transition from the hospital to home or next environment of care as comfortable as possible. You will be provided with pertinent information and community resources to assist with post-hospital issues.

Discharge prescriptions will not be filled by the hospital. Your prescriptions may be filled by the community pharmacy of your choice.

Leaving PeaceHealth Southwest

Please make transportation arrangements well in advance of your discharge. If you need help in arranging transportation the Discharge Planner can assist you with this. When you are discharged you will be escorted to the front desk and signed out. If you have left valuables in the hospital safe, please remember to claim them before departure.  Please follow this checklist before leaving:

  • Claim any valuables that were stored at the time of admission.
  • Pack all your personal belongings. Check the restroom, bedside table and closets.
  • Ask the staff for any assistance you need.
  • Do not forget to take your flowers, cards and gifts.
  • Make sure you have any written prescriptions and follow-up appointment reminders.


Hospice is a special program of compassionate care and support offered to patients and families as they face end-of-life issues. Interdisciplinary services (including the services of Registered Nurses, medical social worker care managers, a chaplain and volunteers) may be provided in the home or in other living facilities. Hospice care is a covered benefit under Medicare and most private insurance plans. A physician’s order is required.

Making early arrangements for in-home care will ensure continuous care and may help you get home sooner.