What to Expect During Your Hospital Stay
If you’re a patient at a Lehigh Valley Health Network hospital, you’ll likely have a few questions about the convenient services available and safety procedures in place. You’ll find a lot of that information right here.
Here's your guide to what you may need for your stay or admission, information about meals, mail, flowers and more.
Items you may need for your stay
- Calling card for long-distance telephone calls
- Sleepwear, including robe and slippers
- Sturdy shoes
- Gym shorts or sweatpants
- Toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, shampoo and other personal items
- Clothes to wear home
Please leave jewelry, money and other valuables at home. The hospital is not responsible for lost personal items.
Items you need for admission
- Insurance information, including pre-certification if required
- List of all your medications and any allergies and sensitivities you may have
- A copy of your advance directive or living will
- Keep only a small amount of cash ($5) in your room for newspapers and other items. If you did not leave valuables at home, they must be locked in the hospital safe and claimed when you go home.
- Denture cups are provided for your use. Please do not wrap your dentures in tissue or place them on your food tray.
- When not using your eyeglasses or hearing aid, put them in their case in the bedside stand.
- Please tell your nurse if you have any electrical appliances, such as hair dryer, radios or shavers, so we can make sure they are UL-listed.
A recent popular fad is for people to wear colored wristbands to show their support for a specific organization or cause. These wristbands are different colors and often have a word of encouragement embossed on them. In the hospital, colored wristbands are used to communicate information or to alert staff to a specific need for the patient. When patients wear their own colored wristbands, it may cause confusion for the staff who may misinterpret the meaning of the bracelet. For your safety, please refrain from wearing your personal wristband while in the hospital. These wristbands should be sent home if brought to the hospital.
Your satisfaction is our top priority. Depending on the unit and location, one of two methods of meal service will be offered.
At some locations, a host may visit you to obtain your meal choices and deliver your meals between the hours of:
Breakfast: 7:30-9:30 a.m.
Lunch: 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Dinner: 4:30-6:30 p.m.
At other locations, you may have the ability to call the food service department with your meal request, and a host will deliver your meal within 45 minutes of your call.
If your doctor ordered a special diet, we will review your selections to make sure they comply. Between-meal snacks are available and may be ordered from your host in accordance with your diet. Your host will give you information about your diet on a Diet Information Card. An automated menu hotline also is available by dialing "DIET" (3438) from your room phone. If you would like more information about your diet, ask your nurse or host to call a registered dietitian.
Guests and family are invited to dine with you in your room by purchasing a guest tray, and the host will obtain their meal preferences and deliver the meal to your room. They also may obtain a meal from the hospital cafeteria or coffee cart locations.
A Meal Service Hot Line is available for any other questions or requests you may have.
At Lehigh Valley Hospital--Cedar Crest, a coffee cart is located in the lobby of the Jaindl Family Pavilion. A café is located in the corridor between the John and Dorothy Morgan Cancer Center and the Jaindl Family Pavilion. Enjoy breakfast and lunch from 7:45 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.
Cafeterias are located at all sites; hours vary.
Volunteers are available to respond to your special requests and needs. Services include cafeteria and gift shop purchases, classic movie requests, newspapers, letter writing, reading and children’s activity boxes. Volunteers provide these valuable services to patients and their families at all Lehigh Valley Health Network locations. Learn more about becoming a volunteer.
Gratuities and tips
The hospital's employees and volunteers are here to assist you. Gratuities and tips are not permitted.
Your room will be cleaned daily and linens changed as your condition warrants. If you have concerns about the cleanliness of your room, please contact your nurse.
Mail and flowers
If you receive mail and flowers, they will be delivered to your room. Flowers are not allowed on critical care units. To make sure you receive your mail, please be sure the address includes your name, room number and the street address of the hospital site where your room is located:
- Lehigh Valley Hospital–Cedar Crest, P.O. Box 689, Allentown, PA 18105-1556
- Lehigh Valley Hospital–17th Street, P.O. Box 7017, Allentown, PA 18105-7017
- Lehigh Valley Hospital–Muhlenberg, 2545 Schoenersville Road, Bethlehem, PA 18017-7384
After your discharge, mail directed to you will be forwarded to your home address.
Pacemaker and ICD patients
- If you have a pacemaker or ICD, please bring your pacemaker/ICD card (provided by the pacemaker/ICD company) with you when you come to the hospital.
- If you are having a procedure that requires electrocautery (GI Lab or surgery), a magnet will be placed over your pacemaker or ICD during the procedure and removed when it is concluded. Your device settings remain the same. Please contact your cardiologist with any other questions.
"Do not announce"
The Health Insurance and Portability and Accountability Act's Privacy Rule (HIPAA) requires hospitals to protect the privacy and confidentiality of patients and patient information. As part of this protection, we are committed to protecting your patient data, including the fact that you are admitted to Lehigh Valley Hospital, if you elect to have this information remain confidential. This means your presence in the hospital will not be acknowledged, and telephone calls, mail and flowers will be refused.
This is an important decision, because if guests are requesting your whereabouts, we will not acknowledge your presence to anyone. If you want only certain family members or friends to know that you are in the facility, you will be responsible for informing them where you are located in the hospital and the contact telephone number. Your decision to be a "Do Not Announce" patient will not affect information given to your treatment providers.
Alternatively, if you wish to remain listed in our patient directory, we may provide your name, hospital phone number and location in the hospital if someone asks for you by first and last name. In matters of public record, we are permitted also to release a one-word condition, i.e., fair, stable, etc.
During the admission process, you will complete a consent form and receive a copy of the Health Information Privacy Notice that addresses this right.
Please let us know your intention. In the event of an emergency and you are unable to make this choice, we will only release information that we determine to be in your best interest. As soon as we are able to communicate with you, you will receive the appropriate paperwork addressing your right to be a "Do Not Announce" patient.
Wireless Internet access
Free wireless Internet access is available on our three hospital campuses and anywhere the health network's wireless network is available. Guest accounts created through our Wi-Fi registration process are active for 24 hours. You are required to re-register for Wi-Fi access each day. There is no charge for this service and no limit to the number of times you can register.
To access our free Wi-Fi, follow these steps:
- On your laptop or mobile device, access your Wi-Fi manager and connect to the LVHNGuest-Network.
- Open a browser and access an Internet site.
- A security pop-up box will appear. Click on “Proceed anyway” or “Continue.”
- A log-in screen will appear. Supply your name, phone number and cellular carrier. Agree to the terms and conditions and click on “Register.”
- A visitor registration receipt screen will appear that contains your username, password and account expiration information. Write down your account information if you wish to log in at a later time.
- Click “Log In” to access the network.
If you are having difficulty accessing our guest network, please call our help desk at 610-402-8303.
Cell phone and hospital telephone usage
The use of cell phones is restricted in patient care areas to prevent interfering with medical equipment and patient safety devices used in those areas. Signs will be displayed in those and other areas of the hospital where cell phone use is permitted and not permitted. Where cell phone use is permitted, reception will depend upon the individual’s cell phone service provider.
You can make local calls from hospital telephones by dialing "99" and then the number. Long-distance telephone calls can be placed only as individual calling card calls.
Lehigh Valley Health Network is committed to creating a healthy environment for anyone who receives care here or visits a friend or family member. Lehigh Valley Health Network is a totally smoke-free environment. Smoking is prohibited by employees, patients and guests both indoors and outdoors on all of our hospital campuses. If you are interested in speaking with a smoking cessation counselor, please ask your doctor or nurse.
Service excellence coordinators
Service excellence coordinators are available to assist with your concerns if your nurse or physician is unable to resolve the issue.
- Sign language interpreters can be provided for the hearing impaired 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Please discuss with your primary nurse. Interpreters for non-English speaking patients are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week via interpreters or a telephonic language interpretation service.
- Closed-captioned adapters for television and special phones for people with sight and hearing impairments are available. TTY devices are also available from the volunteer office.
Here's how you can help prevent medical errors during your hospital stay:
Be involved in your health care
The single most important way you can help to improve your safety is to be an active member of your health care team. Be sure to speak to your health care provider if you have questions or concerns and take part in decisions about your health care. Research shows patients who are more involved in their care tend to get better results. To assist you in managing your care, the following information will help to keep you safe and prevent injuries.
- As a patient, you are part of the health care team. You and your family will participate in decisions regarding your health care.
- Members of the health care team will explain to you what care and treatment is required to assist in the healing process.
- If you have any questions or concerns at any time, please do not hesitate to discuss your concerns with your doctor, nurse, case manager or anyone involved in your care.
- Please ask to speak to your nurse, the unit director or supervisor regarding any concerns that have not been resolved to your satisfaction.
- Make sure all your doctors know all the medications you are taking, including prescriptions, over-the counter medicines and dietary supplements such as vitamins and herbs. The nursing staff will ask you to state your name and date-of-birth each time you receive medications or blood and each time they take specimens for testing. After stating the information, make sure the nurse reads your identification bracelet to verify it is correct. The nurse also can verify the information by scanning your bracelet. Bar-coding scanning is another step we take to ensure you are getting the right medications.
- Be sure your doctor knows about any allergies and adverse or unusual reactions you have had to medicines. This can help you avoid getting a medicine that can harm you.
- The hospital staff will document the medications you are taking and will question you about them throughout your hospital stay and when you are discharged to ensure you are receiving the appropriate medications.
- You will be given a list of medications that you will take when you get home.
- Make sure your health care worker knows if you have a health condition that could affect the use of certain medications.
- If you notice a new medication or change in the color, size, shape or smell of your current medication, STOP your health care worker and ask why it’s different. Generic medications and other automatic substitutions for certain medications may be used for your usual medications, and they may look different.
- Ask your health care provider about possible side effects of your medicine so you will be better prepared if any occur. By being prepared, you can report problems to your health care provider right away, including any side effects.
- If at any time you have any questions or concerns about your medications, ask your health care provider.
- Most patient units have a pharmacist available from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. If you have questions about your medications, please ask your nurse to contact the pharmacist.
Patient safety video
Tune to Channel 50 to watch our patient safety video at the following times:
Find patient education information on channels 52 and 53.
DVT (deep vein thrombosis)
Your health is our primary concern. While in the hospital, you are at increased risk for development of a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) because you are not as active as you normally are. A DVT is a blood clot (or thrombus) that forms in veins, most commonly in the calf or thigh. These clots can partially or completely block the flow of blood through the affected vein.
We work hard to prevent the development of these clots. One means of preventing DVTs from forming is to increase your movement as soon as your health care team believes it is safe. At times, we may need to use anticoagulants (blood-thinning medications) or “compression boots” (worn on your legs) to decrease the risk. If that occurs, you will receive special teaching regarding those measures.
Pressure ulcer prevention
A pressure ulcer, called a bed sore, forms when muscles and soft tissue in your body are squeezed between one of your bones and an outside surface (like a chair or bed).
You are at risk for having a pressure ulcer if you:
- Don’t move
- Stay in the bed or a chair most of the time
- Lose bladder or bowel control
- Do not eat a balanced diet or drink enough fluids
- Are overweight or underweight
- Have thin, dry or fragile skin
- Need help getting from the bed to a chair or the toilet
- Are confused or restless
- Take steroids
- Take medications that make you sleepy
- Are in traction or have splints or braces
- Are receiving oxygen
Pressure ulcers can begin anywhere but often start at the tail bone, hip bones, heels, ankles, elbows, back of head or ears.
While you are in the hospital, your caregivers will help you prevent pressure ulcers by:
- Inspecting your skin every day for redness or signs that sores may be forming
- Keeping your skin clean and dry
- Moisturizing your dry skin
- Reminding you to move and increase your activity
- Changing your position in bed or chair every one to two hours if you are not able to move without help
- Protecting your bony areas with pillows
- Keeping your heels off the bed surface with pillows placed under your calves
- Helping you get from the bed to the chair or toilet
- Using briefs and protective cream to protect your skin from urine or stool
- Helping you get a well-balanced diet and adequate fluids
- Informing your doctor if signs of skin breakdown are noticed
Surgery/procedure safety measures
Your safety during a procedure or surgery is very important. In preparation for your procedure, staff members will ask you at each point of contact to tell us your name and date of birth. They will ask you what surgery or procedure you are having done and to point to the location of the surgery/procedure on your body. After we verify with you the procedure you are having, we will make sure that the information provided by your doctor’s office and on your chart match the information you provide to us. If the information does not agree at any point, we will not proceed. We will continue if we are sure we are providing the correct procedure to the correct patient.
Before you are taken to the procedure area, your doctor will talk to you about your surgery/procedure and the part of your body where the procedure will occur. If the surgery involves your arms, legs, fingers, toes, head, spine or any organ that has a right and a left, the doctor will mark his initials on the spot where the procedure will be done. The reason for marking the site is to ensure the surgery/procedure is completed on the correct side. Just prior to the surgery or procedure starting, the entire team caring for you will review the markings and make sure that all equipment needed is ready to be used. All of this checking is done to assure your safety during your procedure. If at any time you have concerns or questions about your procedure or what is happening, please ask a staff member.
To prevent yourself from falling:
- Always follow your doctor’s orders and your nurses’ instructions about getting out of bed or if you require assistance to go to the bathroom.
- When you need assistance, use your call light or bell by your bed or in the bathroom, and wait for the nurse/assistant to arrive to help you.
- Ask the nurse for help if you feel dizzy or weak getting out of bed.
Remember you are more likely to faint or feel dizzy after sitting or lying for a long time. If you must get up without waiting for help, sit in bed awhile before standing. Then rise carefully and slowly begin to walk. Wear non-skid slipper socks whenever you walk in the hospital. If you do not have slipper socks, ask your nurse for a pair.
- Remain lying or seated while waiting for assistance. Please be patient. Someone will answer your call bell as promptly as possible.
- Do not tamper with side rails that may be in use. Side rails are reminders to stay in bed and are designed to ensure your safety.
- Walk slowly and carefully when out of bed. Do not lean or support yourself on rolling objects such as IV poles or your bedside table.
- Do not use furniture to assist yourself.
Rapid Response Team
Lehigh Valley Health Network is committed to providing the best care to our patients at all times. If there are sudden changes in your condition or if the nurse has concerns about you, a team of specially educated staff is available to respond quickly to any medical situation that may occur outside of the critical care units. If at any time you are concerned about you or your family member’s sudden change in condition, please speak to the nurse caring for them about your concerns.
This Rapid Response Team, which includes a critical care nurse, respiratory therapist and a hospital physician, will bring additional resources and services to your bedside. This team will respond within minutes and intervene, and if necessary, transfer you to a higher level of care, such as a critical care unit. Team members will communicate and work together with your doctor and nurse to provide care as quickly as possible.
Infection control program
Lehigh Valley Health Network has an infection control program designed to prevent the spread of infection. You play an important role in helping to control the spread of infection. Your health care provider will provide you with important materials that will help to explain how infections can be prevented during your stay.
There are some things that may increase the risk for developing an infection during your stay. Reasons for infection may include certain underlying medical conditions (diabetes, heart disease, chronic respiratory disease, etc.), medical treatments (antibiotics, breathing tubes, IV therapy, etc.) and procedures (surgery, catheterization, etc.). In addition, health care facilities have many sick people housed close together. Although procedures may save lives, they also may increase the risk for infection.
It may not always be obvious when a patient has a harmful germ. Therefore it is necessary for the protection of our patients, guests and staff to follow basic measures known as standard precautions to protect oneself every time contact with blood or body fluids is possible. These precautions include handwashing; wearing protective attire such as a gown, gloves, mask and/or goggles; disposing of trash properly and being careful with sharps and needles. These precautions are used for every patient.
Hands contain many germs; therefore good handwashing is an important way to prevent the spread of infection. Handwashing is a professional responsibility of all health care workers. We encourage you to ask your health care providers who have direct contact with you if they have washed their hands. Wash your hands frequently, especially after using the bathroom, before eating, and after coughing or sneezing. Your guests should wash their hands before and after visits. Alcohol-based waterless hand sanitizers are effective and good to use when hands are not visibly soiled.
Additional isolation precautions may be needed for patients with known or suspected contagious diseases. Airborne precautions apply to diseases easily spread through the air. A private room is required, and the door must be kept closed at all times. Staff and guests must wear a mask when entering the room.
Droplet precautions apply to diseases that are spread by droplets from a sneeze or cough. A private room is preferred; however a patient may be housed with another patient with the same disease. Staff and guests must wear a mask when in close contact. Gowns and gloves are worn as appropriate.
Contact precautions apply to diseases that are spread by contact with infected skin or contaminated objects. A private room is preferred; however a patient may be housed with another patient with the same disease. Gowns and gloves are worn as appropriate.
You have a right to make health care decisions and to make those wishes known to your doctor or other health care providers
Why do I need an advance directive?
If you cannot make medical treatment decisions, your doctor will ask your closest relative or friend to help decide what is best for you. Sometimes your loved ones may not know what your wishes are. This is why it is important to say in advance what you would want to happen if you cannot speak for yourself. There are several kinds of advance directives you can use to tell health care providers about the care you wish to receive if you ever become unable to tell them your wishes.
What are the different types of advance directives?
Advance directives recognized in Pennsylvania are:
- Living wills
- Health care powers of attorney
- Organ donor cards
What is a living will?
A living will is a written legal document that speaks for you, only if you are unable to tell us the kind of medical care or treatment you do or do not want. The living will clearly states your decision about care, if you are in a situation where medical treatment would only serve to prolong the process of dying, or to maintain you in a state of permanent unconsciousness.
What is a health care power of attorney?
A health care power of attorney is a written document that names a person who can make decisions about your medical care if you are unable to make those decisions for yourself. The person to whom you have given authority to make decisions for you is called a "health care agent." In this document, you can give this person instructions as to the kind of medical care or treatment you do or do not want. It is a good idea to name a second person to make decisions in case your first choice is not available.
What if I change my mind about an advance directive?
Pennsylvania law states that your advance directive may be changed by you at any time. It is a good idea to review your advance directive every few years to make sure it still agrees with your wishes. Destroy your first written document and tell everyone who knew about it that you changed your mind. Give a copy of the new document to your doctor, health care provider and anyone else who had a copy of your old instructions.
What if my doctor does not want to follow my advance directive?
It is very important that you talk to your doctor about your wishes while you are well. If he or she indicates a problem in following your wishes, you have the right to change doctors.
If I choose not to make an advance directive, who makes treatment decisions for me?
As long as you are able, you and your doctor will decide about your care together. If you are unable to communicate your wishes or to make decisions, your doctor will discuss your plan of care with a representative you named when you were capable to do so or with your family. If you have no representative or family, a court order may be required to decide your plan of care.
Where can I get a form to complete an advance directive?
Examples of forms to complete an advance directive are available through your doctor, your clergy, or local groups such as the offices of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), the local bar (attorney) association or County Agency on Aging offices.
Where should I keep my advance directive?
You should give a copy of your advance directive to your family doctor, lawyer, family and those people you have named to make decisions for you, if you are unable to make them yourself.
Do I have to bring a copy of my advance directive every time I come to the hospital?
Yes, you should bring it with you each time you come to the hospital. You will be asked each time you enter the health care system whether or not the information in the statement still applies. If the information does not apply, please let us know. You do not have to have an advance directive to be admitted to the hospital or home health agency.
What makes an advance directive a legal document?
An advance directive must be:
- Signed by you
- Signed by two capable witnesses at least 18 years of age, who are not medical personnel or family members
The document does not have to be notarized, and a lawyer does not have to write a living will for you.
Is a living will or health care power of attorney effective when I am pregnant?
Pennsylvania law generally does not permit a doctor or other health care provider to honor the living will or health care power of attorney of a pregnant woman who has directed that she not be kept alive. The terms of such a living will or health care power of attorney may be honored, however, if the woman's doctor determines that life-sustaining treatment:
- Will not maintain the woman in a manner that will allow for the continued development and birth of the unborn child
- Will physically harm the pregnant woman
- Cause her pain that cannot be relieved by medication
If your living will or health care power of attorney is not honored because you are pregnant, the Commonwealth must pay all of the usual, customary and reasonable expenses of your care.
The hospital will not condition the provision of care or otherwise discriminate against an individual based on whether or not the individual has an advance directive. The hospital will not follow an advance directive where doing so violates professional standards or the law.
There are several terms you may need to understand as you prepare an advance directive. The definitions below should help you understand some forms of medical treatment about which you will be making choices.
- Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) – a method used to try to restore stopped breathing and/or heartbeat
- Do not resuscitate (DNR) – a doctor's order that alerts other health care providers that the patient or family, in consultation with the doctor, does not want the patient to be given CPR
- Respirators/mechanical ventilation – machines used to assist or fully breathe for the patient
- Feeding tubes – tubes inserted into the body, usually through the nose, mouth or stomach, to feed patients who are no longer capable of eating normally
- Intravenous (IV) therapy – provides nutrition and water and/or medication through a thin tube placed in a vein
- Permanently unconscious – the condition in which a patient is determined to be in a state of total loss of consciousness (vegetative state)
- Life-sustaining equipment – a medical intervention given to a patient that prolongs life and delays death
- Surrogate – another person to act on your behalf
- Brain dead – complete stopping of all function of the brain that cannot be reversed; A brain-dead person is not in a coma; but is, in fact, dead.
For educational materials on advance directives and other health care and legal issues of interest to the elderly, please contact the following organizations.
Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman
PA Department of Aging
231 State St.
Harrisburg, PA 17101-9896
Pennsylvania Council on Aging
231 State St.
Harrisburg, PA 17101-9896
The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)
335 Market St.
Harrisburg, PA 17101
The Pennsylvania Medical Society Division of Communication and Public Affairs
77 E. Park Drive
Harrisburg, PA 17105-8820
Aging and Adult Services
17 S. Seventh St.
Allentown, PA 18101-2400
Northampton County Area Agency on Aging
Gracedale Southwest Ground
Nazareth, PA 18064
Berks County Aging Department – County Service Center
633 Court St.
Reading PA 19601
Pediatric inpatient units combine the highest-quality inpatient pediatric services with a nationally recognized patient- and family-centered approach.
Both units are staffed by highly qualified, experienced pediatric nurses and physicians. The pediatric hospitalist/intensivist physician group provides full-time attending coverage for the pediatric inpatient units for referrals, consults and response to emergencies.
The units feature in-room sleeping accommodations for parents, a play room and a child-life program to focus on the social, emotional and intellectual needs of children. Planned with input from area families, the units are a model of patient- and family-centered care.
- Children’s meals are designed with their food preferences in mind. Meals can be ordered at any time during the day.
- Collaborative rounds occur on a regular basis. The team includes pediatric physicians, nurses, a pediatric pharmacist, a child-life specialist, a pediatric respiratory therapist, a pediatric dietitian and a case manager.
- Separate treatment rooms for any painful or invasive procedures maintain patient rooms as “safe zones.”
- A child-life program includes bringing age-appropriate activities to patient rooms, staffing the unit’s play room and using distraction techniques during treatments and procedures.
- Nurses work in team areas near patient rooms instead of central nursing stations. This allows them to spend most of their time with patients rather than on administrative duties.
- All services are provided directly on our pediatric inpatient units. For example, instead of going to a central admitting office and waiting to be admitted, patients come directly to the pediatric units. On-unit admissions avoid separating parents and children.
- Residents and medical students are important parts of the care team.
- Each patient room has a flat-screen TV with a DVD player. Laptops and a variety of video game systems are available to be brought into patient rooms.
- We have a quiet time period in the afternoon. As part of our patient and family care initiative, this creates a low-stress, calming environment on the units for children to take naps or participate in quiet activities. Lights are dimmed, doors closed, and rounding, tests and procedures do not take place during these times unless medically necessary.
- For 24/7 patient transfers, admissions and physician consults, call toll-free 1-800-280-5524 or 610-402-6100.
- For general information about physicians and services, call 1-800-584-2040.
During your stay at Lehigh Valley Health Network, you will be cared for by a team of doctors, nurses and other skilled professionals. An important part of this team is your case manager. Every patient admitted to Lehigh Valley Health Network has a case manager who can assess and plan for your needs when you leave the hospital.
Meeting your case manager
In most cases, you will meet your case manager after you are admitted to the hospital. However, depending on the type of procedure you will have in the hospital, you may be visited by your case manager when you come in for pre-admission testing. This pre-admission visit typically occurs when you are scheduled for elective surgery and your physician decides if it will be in your best interest to meet with you and your family ahead of time.
Your case manager will coordinate your health insurance benefits while you stay in the hospital and obtain authorization from your insurance company for in-hospital and post-hospital care. Your case manager will work in your best interest within the guidelines determined by your insurance company. If you have insurance questions during your stay, please ask to speak with your case manager.
When you leave the hospital
Your doctor decides when you should go home. Your case manager helps arrange for care when you leave. This care can include transferring you to a rehabilitation center or skilled nursing facility, coordinating home care or hospice, and arranging for medical equipment.
The following services can be arranged if ordered by a physician, and all criteria are met and approved by your insurance company:
- Assisted-living/personal care facility – Your case manager can provide a list of available facilities, but these services generally are not covered by insurance.
- Medical equipment – If you require medical equipment after you leave the hospital, such as a wheelchair, walking aid or nebulizer, your case manager can assist you with arrangements.
- Rehabilitation – Your case manager can arrange for your admission to a rehabilitation center, where you will continue your recovery.
- Skilled nursing facility – Your case manager can provide you with lists of these facilities and assist with your placement and transfer. You and your family are responsible for completing the application and visiting facilities.
- Home health care – If you are homebound, your case manager can make referrals to home health providers.
- Hospice – Your case manager can make referrals to inpatient or home hospice services.
- Referrals to county agencies – There are many county agencies that may be able to assist you when you return home, including Meals on Wheels, Area Agency on Aging and Adult Services. Your case manager can describe their services and refer you to the appropriate agency.
Please remember that your case manager will try to make the best possible recommendation for your care when you leave the hospital; however, we must work within the medical orders given by your doctor and facilities and services approved by your insurance.
Safety tips for going home
When you are being discharged from the hospital, your doctor and nurse will explain the treatment plan you will use at home. This includes learning about your medicines and finding out when you can get back to your regular activities. If the instructions are not clear, be sure to ask your doctor or nurse to repeat them. Having a family member or friend present may help reinforce what instructions you were given for your return home.
Medicines to be taken after discharge
Your doctor may order medicine for you to take once you leave the hospital. There are a few things you can do to make things easier:
- You will be given a list of medications that you are to take once you leave the hospital.
- Ask your doctor about any medications that you were taking when you came to the hospital. (Include over-the-counter medications and dietary supplements such as vitamins and herbs if they are not on the list you received.)
- When your doctor writes a prescription, make sure you can read and understand it.
- It is important that you give a copy of this list to any doctor you see in follow-up and your primary care doctor.
- When you pick up your medicine from the pharmacy, ask, “Is this the medicine my doctor prescribed?”
- When you get your prescription, check the label to verify that you are receiving the proper medication.
- Notify your pharmacist immediately if there is a change in the color, size, shape or smell of your medication.
- Consult your pharmacist and/or health care provider when you are in doubt about a medication.
- If you have any questions about the directions on you medicine labels, ASK. Medicine labels can be hard to understand.
- Know what to do if you miss a dosage, and always remember to contact your doctor or pharmacist if you have any doubts.
- Ask your pharmacist for the best device to measure your liquid medicine. Also, ask questions if you are not sure how to use it. Special devices, like marked syringes or medicine cups, should be used to measure the right dose.
- Ask the pharmacist for a patient information sheet that lists possible side effects of your medicine so you will know what to expect if side effects or something unexpected happens. By being prepared, you can report problems right away.
- If you are homebound, find out if your pharmacy offers home delivery services.
For your convenience, you or a family member may pick up your prescription in the hospital at our Health Spectrum Pharmacy.