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St. Joseph Patient Services


During Your Stay

Printed informational materials are available for every patient at PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center. These materials are designed to make your stay as comfortable as possible and to let you know what to expect during your stay. They explain services that we offer and that you may be unaware of.

If you ever have questions about a procedure, your physician, medication, or anything about your stay at PeaceHealth St. Joseph, please ask! We want you to be informed, comfortable, and clearly understand your care.

Download the St. Joseph Medical Center patient guide

Giving Feedback

If you have feedback regarding any aspect of your care or the care of a loved one, please let us know. Your comments help us to grow closer to achieving our vision of delivering truly compassionate care; every time, every touch. There are several ways you can provide feedback: 
  • Tell any caregiver. 
  • Ask to speak to a nurse team leader, available on all units 24 hours a day. 
  • Ask to speak to the manager of the department on which you are a patient (after hours you can dial 0 and ask for the house manager). 
  • Call, write or ask for the Program Manager of Patient Experience at 360-788-6992.

Patient Dietary Services

Wholesome, nourishing and well-balanced meals are an important part of your treatment and recovery. The hospital provides nutritious meals that are made according to your doctor’s orders.

Dietary staff serve breakfast between 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m.; lunch between 11:45 a.m. and 12:45 p.m.; and dinner between 4:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Sometimes your meal may be later if you are scheduled for a test or treatment. When possible, you will be served after your test or examination.

Your meal has been chosen according to the prescribed diet order and can be changed to meet your food preferences. If you need help in changing your meal, call the Dietary Department at ext. 6734. If you are on a special diet prescribed by your doctor, you will get a special menu for your specific needs.

If a family member or friend wants to eat in your room with you, they may go to the cafeteria, buy a meal there and bring it back to your room.

Cafeterias

Cafeterias are open to families, visitors and the public.

Cafeteria hours, main campus: 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. everyday.
Espresso bar hours: 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday - Friday

The full-service cafeteria is located on the Ground Floor, featuring:

  • grill (including breakfast)
  • salad bar
  • made-to-order sandwiches
  • buffet
  • snack items
  • beverages

Cafeteria hours, south campus: 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday - Friday (closed weekends and holidays).

  • Deli sandwiches
  • salads
  • desserts
  • snack items and beverages
  • espresso  

Vending Machines

Main Campus – Vending machines for soft drinks, sandwiches and snacks are available 24 hours a day near the cafeteria. Snack and soft drink machines are also located on Floor 1 in the Emergency Lobby, off the East Tower Lobby and the Childbirth Center Lobby.

South Campus – Vending machines with soft drinks and snacks are available 24 hours a day near the cafeteria and on First Floor.

Safety and security

Smoking

PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center is a tobacco-free campus. Tobacco (cigarettes, cigars, pipes, snuff, chew, etc.) is not permitted anywhere on the property — indoors or outdoors.

Because smoking is one of the most serious health risks, we want to assist any patient who would like our help to quit tobacco use, whether that’s during a hospital stay or for good. If you would like assistance, please ask your nurse or one of the hospital pharmacists.

Oxygen

Special regulations are in effect when patients are receiving oxygen. Electrically operated equipment and spray cans are not permitted in these areas. Absolutely no smoking is permitted in any room.

Infection Control

We strive to provide the care you need in a manner as free as possible from infectious complications. It is expected and acceptable for you to ask if a caregiver has cleansed his or her hands before providing your care. If you have questions or concerns about infectious conditions, ask to speak to an Infection Control Nurse.

Latex

PeaceHealth St. Joseph is working at creating a latex safe environment for our patients, visitors and staff. Please let us know if you have a latex allergy. We still have a few medical devices that contain latex but have non-latex alternatives available that we will use for you if needed. Balloons that contain latex are not allowed in the hospital. Mylar balloons are an acceptable alternative.

Medication

Your doctor prescribes the medicines you take while you are in the hospital. Medicines are dispensed by the hospital pharmacy and administered by a nurse.

Patients are not permitted to take their own drugs or to keep personal medicines at their bedside, unless there is an order from a physician. If you have questions, ask your nurse. The exception to this rule is if you are admitted as an observation patient. When that happens, Medicare requires that you use your own personal medications, or you will be billed for the medications the hospital uses separately and Medicare will not reimburse you. You can choose to bring in your own medication and have your nurse dispense it with a physician order. If you have questions, ask your nurse or pharmacist upon admission.

Valuables

Please do not bring items of value to the hospital. If you do, they should be kept in the hospital safe. The nursing staff will provide you with an envelope and receipt of deposit. The hospital does not accept responsibility for items of value unless they are kept in the safe.

Confidentiality

As a health care provider, PeaceHealth St. Joseph has a professional, legal and ethical duty to protect patient information. Your trust in us is important and is taken seriously. Our employees, volunteers and hospital systems safeguard the privacy of patient information and records so you can feel secure in sharing sensitive personal information that helps us deliver the best medical care. If you have questions, dial ext. 6307.

Many people who care about you are likely to call the hospital asking about your status. In order to protect confidentiality, it is our policy not to reveal any medical information over the phone. However, we normally do acknowledge your presence as a patient in our hospital if we are asked. If you do not want us to disclose that, please tell your nurse that you want a “do not announce” status. This means our staff will not tell any visitors you are here and you will not receive any mail or flowers.

Wheelchairs

Wheelchairs are available to all nursing units. For your safety, please ask a hospital staff member to help you when getting in and out of a wheelchair.

Fire Drills

For your safety, the hospital conducts fire and disaster drills regularly. Sometimes it is necessary to do these at night. If a drill occurs while you are here, please remain in your room and do not become alarmed. The hospital is a fire-resistant building and the staff is trained in fire protection.

Childbirth Center Security

The Childbirth Center is a locked and secured unit. Visitors must sign in and out at the front reception desk in the Childbirth Center.

Construction

Whatcom County is growing, and the hospital needs more space to accommodate the community’s health care needs. During times of construction, there will be some inconveniences, although we will try to minimize these as much as possible. Parking spaces will be more limited, traffic may be re-routed, there will be noise, etc.

We appreciate your patience during these times as we expand to better serve you.

Patient Rooms

Room Assignments

Your room is assigned based on your admitting diagnosis and what beds are available on the day of your admission. There are both private and semi-private rooms.

Calling the Nurse

A button to call the nurse is located at your bedside and in the bathroom. When you press the button, a light flashes above the door and the nursing station can tell that you need assistance. A staff member will respond as soon as possible. If someone answers your call over the speaker, please let them know if you need them to bring something to your room.

During the Night

Please stay in bed when you are ready for the night. Strange places and sleeping medicines may cause a problem if you get out of bed. For help during the night, use your call button.

Hospital Beds

Hospital beds are electric. Your nurse will show you how to properly work the bed, which is higher and narrower than your bed at home. It has bedside rails to protect you. For safety, these rails may be raised at night or during the day if you are resting, when you come back from surgery or if you are taking certain medicine.

Linens

PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center is working to conserve water, natural gas and electricity. As part of this effort, your bed linen will be changed every other day. However, patient care and comfort remain our highest priority, so if you wish to have your linen changed more frequently, please tell your caregiver. In addition, if at anytime your bedding requires a change, we will promptly accommodate that need.

Room Temperature

All rooms in the hospital are centrally heated and air-conditioned. If your room temperature is not comfortable, let the nursing staff know.

Baby Chimes

You may hear brief musical notes played over the public address system on Main Campus. Each time a baby is born in our Childbirth Center a musical combination of “Happy Birthday” and “Brahm’s Lullaby” is played during visiting hours, until 8:30 p.m.

Television

Your room has a color television set with local cable stations free of charge. Please be considerate of other patients and play television sets softly and turn off your set at bedtime.

Channel 71 has special patient education programming. Ask your nurse for a program schedule.

Televisions in Childbirth Center rooms receive the Newborn Channel (educational programming for parents). Turn to channel 17 for English or channel 18 for Spanish. VCRs and educational videotapes also are available for Childbirth Center patients.

Telephones

Most hospital rooms have telephones. We also have TDD and telephone amplifiers for the hearing impaired. Dial 0 to request these services.

  • To call anywhere in Bellingham or Whatcom County, dial 9 and then the outside number. You do not need to dial 1. These calls are free.
  • To call a number outside Whatcom County, dial 0. The hospital operator will connect you to a long-distance operator who will take your billing number.
  • If you do not wish to receive incoming calls, dial 0 and ask that the phone be put on “do not disturb.” When you want to take calls again, dial 0 and tell the switchboard operator. Telephones can be removed for patient rest. In the Intensive Care Unit, all phone calls must go through the nursing station.
  • Most patient phones have voice mail. Callers have the option of leaving a message when the patient’s line is 1) on “do not disturb,” 2) busy or 3) not answered. A flashing light on the phone indicates you have a message. To retrieve messages, dial ext. 6333 and follow the instructions. 

Note: Messages that have been retrieved will automatically be deleted each evening at midnight.

Special accommodations

We make every effort to work with patients that may need special accommodations:

  • For the hearing impaired, TDD and telephone amplifiers are available. Dial 0 to request these services.
  • For the visually impaired, Braille is included on most signs throughout the hospital.
  • Accessible restrooms are located throughout our facilities.

Language Translation

Language translation for medical care is available 24 hours a day through Optimal Phone Interpreters for those who do not speak English. An Admitting Representative or nurse can arrange for this. In addition, a summary version of this guide is available in Spanish and Russian from the nursing staff. ​