During Your Stay
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 to bring to the hospital:
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 PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center 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 Valuables may be withdrawn from the safe at the time of your discharge.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.
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.
“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.
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.
Let your nurse know if the dressing on your intravenous catheter
works loose or gets wet. Keep the area clean and dry.
Let your nurse know if you have a dressing on a wound that works
loose or gets wet.
Let your nurse know if your drainage tube or catheter becomes loose
If possible, ask your friends and relatives not to visit if they feel ill.
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.
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
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 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 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.
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.
Your Rights as a Patient
In keeping with PeaceHealth’s mission, core values and commitment to the delivery of quality health care, Southwest recognizes, protects and promotes the following rights for each patient to include, as appropriate, the patient’s legally authorized representative. If you have questions about these rights and responsibilities please talk to our staff members or a department manager.
As a PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center patient, you have the right to:
- Impartial access to medically indicated services available at Southwest Medical Center.
- Have a family member or representative of your choice and your own physician notified promptly of your admission to the hospital.
- Considerate, respectful care, including respect for your personal values and beliefs.
- Refuse treatment and to be informed of the medical consequences of your refusal.
- Know the names of doctors caring for you and which doctor is coordinating your care.
- Receive from your doctor information concerning your care and condition in terms you can understand.
- Information pertaining to the need for transfer to another health care facility if indicated and the alternatives to transfer.
- Information regarding your health status, treatment and outlook for recovery including your continuing health requirements after you leave the hospital.
- Request reasonable treatment options that are considered standard of care.
- Consult with another doctor at your own request and expense.
- Privacy in the performance of your medical care.
- Be involved in care planning and treatment, including pain assessment and management.
- Receive care in a safe environment.
- Be free from restraints of any form that are not medically necessary.
- Be free from all forms of abuse or harassment.
- Confidentiality of records and communications regarding your care. Certain information may be released to appropriate persons or agencies such as insurance companies, according to state and/or federal laws.
- Give or withhold your consent to participate in research projects, procedures or medication administration.
- Information necessary to give informed consents before the start of any procedure. Except in emergencies, this information usually includes a description of the procedure, significant risks involved, how long you may be incapacitated and reasonable medical alternatives.
- The right to examine and receive an explanation of your hospital bill.
- Have access to information contained in your medical records in accordance with state and federal regulations and hospital policy.
- Be informed or when appropriate, have family informed about the outcomes of care including unanticipated outcomes.
- Voice any concerns or complaints regarding to your care with staff members and department managers. If you are not satisfied with the outcome a formal grievance could be filed.
- Be informed of PeaceHealth Southwest's rules and regulations that apply to patient care and conduct.
- The right to participate in consideration of ethical issues that arise in your care.
Your Responsibilities as a Patient
As a PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center patient it is your responsibility to:
- Participate actively in decisions regarding your health care.
- Provide accurate, complete and timely information regarding your medical history, current symptoms and problems, drug allergies, medications and dietary supplements you are currently taking and any reactions or sensitivities you have experienced and other matters relating to your health.
- Make sure you understand the care and treatment you are receiving. Ask questions if your care is not clear or if you don’t understand what is expected of you.
- Ask questions. If something doesn’t seem right, call it to the attention of your nurse or doctor.
- Discuss any concerns about your safety with your health care team.
- Notify your nurse or doctor at once if you notice any changes in your health, have concerns about your health or if you cannot or will not follow certain treatment plans.
- Follow the instructions and advice of your doctor.
- Be considerate of other patients and hospital personnel and assist in the control of noise and number of visitors.
- Be respectful of the property of other persons, of the hospital and follow hospital rules affecting patient care and conduct.
- Assure that the financial obligations of your health care are fulfilled promptly.
Advanced Directives (Living Wills)
Many people have strong feelings about how and what kind of medical care they want at the end of life. Few people actually share those feelings with family members or medical professionals. Death is often difficult to talk about and though you may have expressed your wishes in conversation, your family may have difficulty knowing what is really expected of them. Advanced Directives—sometimes called Living Wills—are legal documents that allow you to retain control over what kind of care and how much care you will receive should you become terminally ill or unable to communicate your wishes. Peace Harbor Hospital is required by law to provide advance directive documents to patients upon admission to the hospital. However, hospital admission may not be the best time to make these kinds of decisions unless death is imminent. We encourage patients to talk with their family members, medical professionals or spiritual advisor before deciding what is right for them.
PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center is a tobacco free facility. Tobacco in any form is not allowed anywhere on the property at any time by patients, employees, physicians or visitors. A patient must have a written doctor’s order for an exception.
Fragrances in any form including soaps, body lotions and sprays are not allowed as their adverse effects may trigger migraine headaches and other sensitivities in patients and health care workers alike. We appreciate your understanding and compliance about this often overlooked but important issue.
Your Health Care Team
These are hospital-based doctors whose only job is to take care of hospitalized patients. They are specially-trained physicians who provide an extension of services beyond your regular doctor.
Registered Nurses (RNs) are available for your care 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Other nursing staff include Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) and Certified Nurse Assistants (CNAs).
Allied Health Staff
Other medical professionals who may attend to your needs include laboratory technicians, imaging technicians, dietitians, therapists, pharmacists, and behavioral health specialists.
Volunteers support patient care and provide information to families and guests. They can be identified by their teal colored uniform and hospital ID badge.
Volunteers support patient care and provide information to families and guests. They can be identified by their teal colored uniform and hospital ID badge.
Concerns, Complaints, and Grievances
PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center staff is dedicated to the delivery of quality health care and patient satisfaction. When you think we have fallen short of this goal, we need to hear about your concerns. One way that we try to increase patient satisfaction is by having our Charge Nurses ask you if there are any problems or concerns with your care when they make the rounds on each shift. This procedure often helps identify problems in the early stages and solve them before they get out of control. However, please don’t wait to be asked before you voice your concerns. Let your nurse know if there are problems that need to be taken care of at any time. If your concern is about patient safety, please notify your nurse immediately.
Ethical Concerns and Issues
While amazing advances in medical technology make it possible for us to live longer and healthier lives, these same advances can often present new choices and sometimes, difficult decisions. Difficult decisions may involve the use of artificial life-sustaining procedures, the right to accept or refuse life-sustaining treatment, making decisions for patients who lack decision-making ability and other related issues.
The Bioethics Committee, a team of health care professionals, is available to patients, families and their caregivers when help is needed to work through difficult treatment decisions. If you need assistance please contact your physician, nurse or other health care team member to request a consultation with a Bioethics Committee member.
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.