Smoke-Free Environment

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1 Patient Handbook

2 Smoke-Free Environment To protect our patients, visitors, and staff from the harmful effects of second-hand smoke, smoking is not permitted anywhere on UPMC property. All UPMC hospitals, facilities, and grounds, including parking lots, garages, and other outdoor locations, such as UPMCowned sidewalks, are smoke-free. UPMC has no designated smoking areas. If you choose to smoke, you cannot do so on the UPMC campus. A patient who smokes does so against our advice and assumes the risk for any problems as a result of smoking. For information about smoking and how to quit, access the patient education materials on UPMC s website at patienteducation.upmc. com (select Smoking). If you re interested in Becoming a Quitter, call QUIT-NOW ( ) or visit Also see information in the Healthy Lifestyle section of this handbook.

3 Language Interpretation Services Please notify your caregiver if you speak [language]. Interpretation services are provided at this facility free of charge. Please let your provider know when you make your appointment that you will need an ASL interpreter. 1

4 UPMC Northwest Patient Handbook Welcome to UPMC Northwest. Every member of our staff is working hard to make your stay comfortable and provide you with the quality care you ve come to expect from UPMC. We want you to feel at home during your stay and will do our best to accommodate your needs. We have designed this Patient Handbook for you and your family. Please take a few minutes to read through this booklet. Inside you will find a message from our president and information about the people and services contributing to your care. Please call the telephone numbers provided if you need any assistance. A Message from Our President Dear Patient, Thank you for trusting UPMC Northwest for the care of yourself or your loved one. Our goal is to exceed your expectations when it comes to your care. Nothing matters more to us than you do. If at any time we have not met your expectations, please contact or call from your hospital room telephone. In order to continuously monitor our services and care, we utilize a patient satisfaction survey. You may be selected to receive a survey in the mail after you leave the hospital. We care about your opinion. Should you receive a survey, please take a few minutes to tell us about your experience so that we may continuously strive to improve our service. Again, the goal of our team is to exceed your expectations while you are here at UPMC Northwest. We appreciate your consideration and thank you for choosing our hospital for your health care needs. Sincerely, David Gibbons President 2

5 Table of Contents UPMC Northwest Message from Our President... 2 Admission Information... 4 Admission Process and Pre-certification.. 4 Caregivers You Will Meet...4 Safety and Security... 6 Special Needs... 6 Questions to Ask About Your Care... 6 Information Important for Your Stay... 7 Meals... 7 Fire and Other Emergency Safety... 7 Hearing Assistance... 7 Language Interpretation Services... 8 Accessibility... 8 Services for Patients and Families... 8 Condition Help... 9 Colored Alert Wristbands... 9 Social Services Notary Public...11 Advance Directive...11 Organ Donation...11 Palliative Care Consultation Services...11 Spiritual Care...11 Telephone/Television...12 Flowers, Packages, Mail, and Newspapers...12 Gift Shop/Coffee Bar...12 Visitation...13 Coming to the Hospital...13 Discharge Information...14 Discharge Planning Leaving the Hospital...15 Scheduling Follow-Up Appointments...15 Billing...15 UPMC Northwest Foundation...16 Patient Education...16 The Learning Resource Center...16 Patient Education Channel...16 Hand Washing to Prevent Infections...17 Five Steps to Safer Health Care Pain Control...19 Preventing Falls...19 Healthy Lifestyle...22 General Information...25 Patient Rights and Responsibilities...25 Complaints, Concerns, and Questions Filing a Grievance Non-Discrimination in Patient Care UPMC No Weapons Policy...31 Questions to Ask Before I Go Home

6 Admission Information Admission Process and Pre-certification At UPMC Northwest, the admission process is an important part of your hospital stay. Through it, we obtain valuable information for your medical record and insurance carrier. To assure that your insurance requirements are met, we may ask about your carrier s second surgical opinion or pre-certification requirements. After we obtain your insurance information, we will verify coverage with your insurance carrier(s). If you are not insured or your insurance information cannot be verified, a financial counselor will contact you or one of your family members. In order to avoid a financial penalty, your insurance carrier may require you to contact them directly prior to your admission or shortly thereafter. Please refer to your insurance card for specific information. If you are an urgent or emergency admission, the hospital assumes the responsibility for notifying your carrier. If your hospital stay was scheduled in advance, your insurance information was obtained prior to your admission. If your admission was not scheduled in advance, you or your family member will be contacted by Admissions to obtain the information and signatures needed to complete your admission to the hospital. Please refer to Patient Rights and Responsibilities included in this handbook on page 25 for more details. Caregivers You Will Meet During your stay at UPMC Northwest, you will meet many members of our care team. These include: Doctors In addition to hospital services, you will receive services from doctors during your stay at UPMC Northwest. These doctors will bill you or your insurance carrier separately for services provided. Besides your attending doctors, you may receive bills from a radiologist or pathologist (if you have x-rays or certain laboratory tests), surgeon and anesthesiologist (if you have surgery), emergency doctors (if you have been admitted through the Emergency Department), and/or any consulting doctors. Hospitalists You may be admitted to the hospital under the care of our Hospitalist Service. Hospitalists care for hospitalized patients on a daily basis. Your hospitalist will maintain and uphold communication with your primary care doctor (PCP), keeping him or her up to date about your care while you re in the hospital. When you leave the hospital you should follow up by making an appointment with your PCP. We have the primary responsibility for your care while you are in the hospital. We also may consult a specialist if needed. Nursing Staff: RNs We are responsible for your overall care. We perform many skills to help you get well and will teach you about your medicine and other important information. Please ask us if you have any questions about your care. You may notice nurses using electronic devices, such as smart phones and computers. Rest assured they are reviewing clinical information about 4

7 your care and are not conducting personal business. We wear ceil (sky) blue and white scrubs. Patient Care Technicians and Nursing Assistants Our primary function is to assist in your care. We will help you to the bathroom, take your vital signs, obtain your blood work, and perform other special tasks with you. We wear navy blue scrubs. Advanced Practice Providers (Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants, and others) We support the work of your doctors by assisting them with treating patients, performing procedures, and documenting your care. We may accompany your doctor or see you separately. In either case, our goal is to provide you with great care. Phlebotomists We are who will draw your blood if you need any bloodwork or tests done. We wear red. Housekeeping We are responsible for cleaning your room each day. Our goal is to ensure that every patient room is kept clean at all times. We wear Caribbean blue. Health Unit Coordinators (HUC) We provide clerical support by answering call bells and phones, and use the computer to assist with your care. We wear business casual uniforms. Respiratory Therapists We give you breathing treatments and oxygen therapy, if needed. We wear black scrubs. Technologists and Technicians We serve a variety of roles at UPMC Northwest that include providing you with x-rays, imaging exams, and some cardiac testing. Many of us wear royal blue scrubs, although this can vary by department. Social Workers We work with health managers, your nurses, and doctors to coordinate your plan of care before admission, during your stay, and after you leave the hospital. We wear business casual or mint green tops. Care Managers We are responsible for coordinating your care, working with your insurance company, and planning for your discharge needs to assure a safe transition out of the hospital. We wear business attire. Volunteers/Auxiliary UPMC Northwest is fortunate to have many dedicated volunteers who provide service to patients, visitors, and staff. Volunteers can be seen delivering patient mail and flowers; providing directional assistance at our information desks in the main lobby, surgical center, major diagnostic center, and emergency services; escorting patients and visitors; working in the Auxiliary Gift Shop/ Coffee Bar; volunteering in our Family Birthing Center, in Physical Therapy, and on nursing floors with patient care; and providing clerical assistance in medical records, the Cancer Care Center, and administrative offices. We also have a music group that performs for patients once a week. You can recognize volunteers by their name tags and their purple smocks or T-shirts. UPMC Northwest also has a very active auxiliary group that operates the gift shop; facilitates several scholarships and holds 5

8 fundraisers; and provides community education programming through hospital tours, Kindergarten Hello Hospital, and 3 rd grade health fairs. If you are interested in volunteering or joining the Auxiliary, please notify our Auxiliary/ Volunteer coordinator at The Electronic Health Record We use a computer to keep track of our patients health information. You will see your health care team members using the computer to enter the answers to questions you are asked, to review and explain your test results, record your medicines and treatments, and share your health information with you. Entering this information into the computer also provides other caregivers with up to date information while taking care of you. Observation Unit The Observation Unit is a short-stay unit for patients who need more watching and testing than can be given in the Emergency Department. If you are treated as an outpatient, your hospital stay is expected to be less than 24 hours. If your doctor decides you need more care, you will stay in the hospital as an inpatient or be transferred to another care facility. If your doctor decides you no longer need care in the hospital, you will be sent home. Safety and Security Medication Safety Do not take any medicines that you brought to the hospital from home, unless your doctor or nurse tells you it is okay. You should give your personal supply of medicines to someone to take home for you. If that is not possible, please notify your nurse. Security Point Security provides security and protection to all patients, employees, doctors, and visitors, as well as to property belonging to or in control of UPMC Northwest. To ensure the safety of patients, visitors, and staff, please comply with staff members requests regarding UPMC policies. Follow hospital rules, and ask your visitors to do the same. Security also will provide escort service to all parking areas adjacent to the hospital. If you need this service, please contact the Security officer on duty by dialing 0. To enhance the safety of UPMC Northwest patients and staff, all entrances will be locked at 8 p.m. Access to the hospital after 8 p.m. can be obtained only through the Emergency Department entrance. Visitors will be requested to sign in and state their destination upon arrival and will be given a visitor s pass. Special Needs For patients and visitors with special needs due to hearing impairment, visual impairment, or language barriers, the hospital offers printed educational materials, closed-caption television, sign language interpreters, foreign language interpreters, and other assistive devices. To obtain any of these aids, ask your nurse for assistance. Questions To Ask About Your Care Questions That Involve Being in the Hospital 1. What is wrong with me? 2. What is it called? 3. What is being done to treat my illness? 4. What test(s) am I having done? 5. What are the results of my tests? 6

9 Questions to Prepare You for Going Home 1. How long do you think I may be in the hospital? 2. What time of day will I be able to leave the hospital? 3. Is there any information you can give me so I can learn more about my illness? 4. Will I need to make changes in the way I live because of my illness? Information Important for Your Stay Meals Dietary Soon after admission, you will receive a menu from which to select your meals. The selections offered will be specific to the diet your doctor has ordered. Please advise your nurse of any dietary restrictions or preferences you may have. It also is important to inform your nurse of any religious dietary preferences. Nutritional Services will make every effort to accommodate your religious preferences. Food Services for Visitors Cafeteria Visitors Hours: Monday through Friday: Breakfast: 6:30 to 9 a.m. (hot breakfast) 9 to 10 a.m. (continental breakfast) Lunch: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dinner: 4 to 6 p.m. (Please note that cafeteria hours are subject to change without notice.) Vending Machines Vending machines are located inside the cafeteria (on the ground floor) and in the Emergency Room lobby (1 st floor). Fire and Other Emergency Safety UPMC Northwest operates a comprehensive Fire Safety Program throughout the hospital. This program requires that all hospital employees participate in ongoing education programs in order to be prepared and to deal effectively with fire-related emergencies. Periodic fire drills are conducted to monitor the staff s ability to react appropriately. Testing of the hospital s fire alarms also is conducted to ensure they are in proper working order. Should you hear the fire alarm, you will be given instructions by either the hospital operator or a staff member. Staff is required to close the door leading into each patient room during all fire drills and real fire emergencies. To ensure your safety, please remain calm. Should you see or smell smoke, please notify a staff member immediately. For an actual fire emergency, patients are instructed to stay in their rooms with the doors closed to keep out fire and smoke. You will receive further instructions from a staff member. Weekends: Breakfast: Lunch: Dinner: 6:30 to 10 a.m. (continental breakfast) 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. 4 to 6 p.m. 7

10 Hearing Assistance Please let your nurse know if you have special communication needs. The following service is available to UPMC Northwest s hearingimpaired patients free of charge: Telecommunication Devices for the Deaf (TDD): A TDD is a phone system that allows a hearing-impaired individual to communicate by phone by typing a message and receiving information in the same way. Alert any of your caregivers if you need this type of phone. For text phone users. The toll-free number for the Pennsylvania Relay is If you do not have a text phone, but want to use the Pennsylvania Relay to call someone who does, call Language Interpretation Services Sign Language Interpreter: DT Interpreting is a system that provides live, face-to-face contact with a certified sign language interpreter using specialized video/ TV equipment. In-person sign language interpreters also can be scheduled to help with communication. Contact the following to request these services: Administrator on duty, or Language Interpreters: UPMC Northwest uses over-the-phone interpretation via Language Line and DT Interpreting, which accesses interpreters in hundreds of foreign languages. Face-to-face interpreters also may be accessed through the DT Interpreting system. If any additional services are required to help in effective communication during your stay, please let your nurse know. Accessibility UPMC Northwest ensures that health care is accessible to people with disabilities, including those with mobility disabilities, hearing loss, vision loss, speech impairments, and intellectual/cognitive disabilities. Accessible parking, valet services, accessible patient rooms, assistive listening devices, sound signalers, interpretation services, video remote interpreting, key documents in alternative formats, and other services are available to enhance the patient experience and provide access to our excellent health care services. Access features include: Convenient parking designated specifically for persons with a disability. Level access onto the 1 st floor, with elevator access to all other floors. Assistive and communication aids provided to persons who are deaf, hard of hearing, or blind, or with other sensory impairments. Services For Patients And Families Cell Phones Cell phones can be used in the hospital in waiting areas only or outside the hospital building. Cell phone usage in nursing areas may affect medical equipment and is strictly prohibited. Blood Donation Center Volunteer blood donation is vital to our hospital. Blood and blood components are used daily to treat various conditions, such as trauma care and cancer. UPMC Northwest works in conjunction with Community Blood Bank to provide opportunities for blood donations. 8

11 If you or family members are interested in making a blood donation, please contact the Auxiliary/Volunteer Service office at The staff will assist you with information on how to make a donation. Patient Relations Here at UPMC Northwest, we are committed to serving our customers, and we take pride in meeting your needs with the utmost courtesy and respect. We will continue to strive to improve our relations with you, and we welcome your input on how we are doing. If you experience or observe an area that you would like to bring to our attention, whether positive or negative, please do not hesitate to contact your nurse or ask to speak to the unit director. If after you leave the hospital, you would like to speak to a hospital representative about your stay, you may contact a hospital representative at or Our goal is to make your experience at UPMC Northwest as positive as possible. Condition Help At UPMC Northwest, we believe teamwork is key to offering the best health care to our patients and their families. We ask you to be a part of our team when visiting your loved ones. What Is Condition Help? Condition Help is a patient safety hotline that patients and families can call when there is a change in the patient s condition and the patient or family is unable to get the attention of a health care provider. When hospital operators receive a Condition Help call, a rapid response team is activated to address the patient concern. The Condition Help program provides a hotline for hospital patients and their family members to call when there is: An emergency when patients or loved ones can t get the attention of hospital staff. A communication breakdown in how care is given. Uncertainty over what needs to be done. Concern about a noticeable change in the patient s medical condition that the health care team is not recognizing. To Activate Condition Help Call from any hospital phone and give: Your name. Room number. Patient s name. Patient s concern. The operator will immediately activate Condition Help. This alerts a team of medical professionals to come to the patient s room to assess the situation. Additional support services will be called in as needed. This team includes a doctor, the administrative nursing coordinator/supervisor, a floor nurse, and a Patient Relations Representative when available. Colored Alert Wristbands Pennsylvania s hospitals and health systems are working together to make Pennsylvania s health care the safest in the nation. Wristbands are used in hospitals to quickly communicate certain health care information. Some of the wristbands are colored and designate certain health care conditions and status to readily alert everyone who cares for the patient. 9

12 The different colors have different meanings. In addition, words are included on the wristband to further reduce the chance of confusion about the alert messages. Upon admission, or at any point during your hospital stay, a colored alert wristband may be placed on your arm. Wristband Colors and Meanings: Red = ALLERGY A red wristband is for patients who have an allergy to anything food, medicine, dust, grass, or even pet hair. It may not seem important to you, but any allergy is important information for your health care team. Yellow = FALL RISK Your health care team wants to prevent falls at all times. Some patients need help to move or walk, especially those patients who have become weakened by their illness. A yellow wristband is for patients who need extra assistance when walking so that they don t fall. Green = LATEX ALLERGY Many products used in hospitals are made of latex. Some patients can have a severe allergic reaction to latex. A green wristband is for patients who have allergies to products containing latex. Your hospital team will substitute non-latex products for you. Purple = DO NOT RESUSCITATE (DNR) Some patients have expressed an end-oflife wish that they would like honored in the event of a cardiac arrest. When a patient is wearing a purple wristband, it alerts the hospital staff to check the patient record for important information on patient end-of-life (advance) directives. Pink = RESTRICTED EXTREMITY Some patients have past or current conditions that would prohibit the use of a certain arm or leg for various reasons. Patients with this condition wear a pink wristband on the affected extremity to alert staff to avoid using this limb for blood draws, IV insertions, and other medical procedures. How Can You Help? Remove any popular (charity or fashion) wristbands while you are in the hospital to avoid any possible confusion between your bracelet(s) and the wristbands used for purposes of your health care. Only wear the wristband placed by hospital staff. Tell hospital staff about any allergies you may have, if you have a tendency to lose your balance, and if you have an advance directive. Tell a nurse if a wristband falls off during your stay. Social Services Social Services at UPMC Northwest are readily available for all patients and their families for assistance with problems resulting from a patient s adjustment to illness or injury. Working closely with other members of the health care team, the staff of Social Services assists patients and their families in making the most effective use of available community resources, both during and following their hospital stay. Available services include discharge planning, information, and referral; crisis intervention; coordination and referral for home care services; transfers to long-term care facilities; referrals for domestic difficulties; and adoption counseling, among others. 10

13 All services provided by Social Services are confidential and provided at no charge to the patient. If you would like to speak with a member of Social Services, please ask your nurse or doctor to make a referral for you, or you may call Social Services directly at Notary Public The services of a notary public may be available to you and your family by appointment. Some documents, such as title and transfers of real estate or motor vehicle, cannot be notarized by the staff of UPMC Northwest. The staff notary may refuse to notarize a document at his or her discretion. If you need this service, please notify your nurse. Advance Directive Patients have the right to decide what medical care they want to receive in any situation. This includes choices about extraordinary measures to sustain life, for example, CPR (cardiac resuscitation), dialysis, and ventilator support. Ideally, the patient and doctor make these decisions together. But in a time of crisis, it can be difficult to make these decisions. With serious illness or injury, the patient may be unable to communicate his or her wishes and desires about care. That is why making medical decisions in advance is important. To make sure your doctors and your loved ones know your wishes, you can name an agent (a substitute decision maker) and/or complete a living will (advance directive). You can cancel either one at any time. Organ Donation Organ donation is becoming a well-known option. We understand what a sensitive issue this may be at a time of great loss. You may specify your wishes for organ donation in advance with your nurse or doctor. UPMC Northwest participates in an automatic referral program with the Center for Organ Recovery and Education (CORE), located in Pittsburgh. This simply means that any death that occurs at UPMC Northwest is reported to CORE. CORE will determine if there is a potential for organ or tissue donation. If there is a potential, a CORE representative will contact the family to discuss their wishes about donation. If you would like further information, please contact the nursing supervisor at Palliative Care Consultation Services Palliative care is an approach to treating the whole patient body, mind, and spirit and can be utilized at any point in the disease process. This care works to treat pain and other physical symptoms while acknowledging the family and caregiver s needs. The ultimate goal is to provide a patient with the best quality of life while coping with a serious illness or disease. The palliative care team is comprised of nursing, social services, a dietitian, and a pharmacy consultant. If you are interested in this service or have questions, please ask your doctor or nursing care team to request a consultation. You also may call the office of Palliative Care Services directly at to ask questions or request a consultation. Spiritual Care UPMC Northwest staff and the local Minister s Forum work together to meet your spiritual needs while you are a patient. When you are admitted to the hospital, you will be asked if you are a member of a religious 11

14 congregation and if you would like to arrange a visit from your clergy. With your permission, the hospital will make that information available to your clergy. If you have a special spiritual request while you are a patient, please let the nursing personnel know. Chapel A small, private chapel is located off the main lobby (just past the gift shop) and is available for use at any time by you and your family. Religious Broadcasts for Patients 24 Hour Radio 89.5 FM WAWN: American Family Radio Telephone/Television Phone Phone service is available at no charge to you. To place a local call, dial 9 and the Phone number you are calling. Toll calls or long-distance calls must be made collect or charged to a credit card or your home phone. To place such a call, dial 9, then Call-ATT for the ATT operator or COLLECT for the long distance operator. If you experience problems in placing your call, dial 0 to reach the hospital s switchboard operator, who will assist you. To call departments within the hospital, dial the full number. Information regarding Phone services for the hearing impaired is found within the section titled Hearing Assistance in this handbook on page 7. TV TV service is available at no charge to you. Closed captioning is available for the hearing impaired. If you need closed captioning, please let your nurse know. If either your Phone or TV is not functioning properly, please let your nurse know. Flowers, Packages, Mail, and Newspapers Flowers and Packages Flowers and packages will be delivered to the main lobby. They will be delivered directly to your room by hospital volunteers or other personnel. If flowers arrive after you leave the hospital, the florist will make arrangements to have them delivered to your home. Any packages received after you leave the hospital will be re-addressed and delivered to your home. Mail Mail is delivered once a day to the hospital. Friends and relatives should use your full name when mailing cards. Address for patient mail: UPMC Northwest 100 Fairfield Drive Seneca, PA To send mail, please give your cards and letters to your nurse, who will place them in the mail drop. Newspapers Morning newspapers can be purchased in the Auxiliary Gift Shop/Coffee Bar. Gift Shop/Coffee Bar Our gift shop is owned and operated by the UPMC Northwest Auxiliary. A wide variety of gifts, toys, stationery, magazines, books, local newspapers, greeting cards, and flowers is available. If you are a patient who needs help having an item delivered from the gift shop to your room, please call to make arrangements for a volunteer to assist. 12

15 (Please note that food items must be approved by nursing staff before delivery to a patient room.) The coffee bar menu includes coffee, cappuccino, juices, cookies, and donuts. The gift shop is located just off the main lobby, and open from: Monday through Thursday: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sunday, and Holidays: Closed (Please note that gift shop hours are subject to change without notice.) Visitation Visiting Hours Visiting hours at UPMC Northwest are as follows: Adult: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Pediatric & 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Adolescent: Obstetrics/Nursery: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. ICU/CCU (immediate family only): Every 2 hours on the even hours for 15 minutes, except at 8 a.m. Please be considerate of other patients and limit the number of visitors to 2 at a time. Please note that visiting hours are subject to change without notice. UPMC Northwest allows a family member, friend, or other individual to be present with the patient for emotional support during the course of stay. Some units may have specific guidelines for visitation; please ask your nurse for more information. UPMC Northwest may impose reasonable clinically necessary restrictions or limitation on visitation. Visiting Hours Children Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult at all times. To enhance the safety of UPMC Northwest patients and staff, all entrances will be locked at 8 p.m. Access to the hospital after 8 p.m. can be obtained only through the Emergency Department entrance. Visitors will be requested to sign in and state their destination upon arrival and will be given a visitor s pass. Coming To The Hospital Parking UPMC Northwest strives to provide convenient parking for everyone. Several parking lots are maintained for visitors and patients. Please cooperate by observing all Handicapped Parking and No Parking signs and by exercising caution when parking. Fire regulations prohibit leaving vehicles parked in front of any entrance to the hospital. Violators cars may be removed at the owners expense. Personal Items/Valuables The hospital does not assume responsibility for loss of personal items, including clothing, lost or damaged dentures, eyeglasses, or hearing aids. During your hospital stay, items you will not be using should be left at home. Please don t bring money, credit cards, keys, checkbook, jewelry, or other valuables. Eyeglasses and hearing aids should be stored in a drawer when not in use. Dentures should be stored in the denture cup provided, not in a drinking cup or on your meal tray where they may be accidentally thrown away. Please notify your nurse if you have any personal electrical items, such as an electric razor, radio, or hair dryer. These items must be checked by hospital personnel prior to you using them. 13

16 Discharge Information Generally, your doctor and nurse will notify you of plans for discharge the day before you go home. Since there are many steps involved in preparing to leave the hospital, please speak with the nursing staff about an anticipated departure time so that arrangements for transportation can be made. Please be sure to let our staff know of any special needs you may have so that appropriate arrangements can be made. On the day you are to leave the hospital, your doctor will write prescriptions for any medicines you may need for continued recovery. He or she also may ask you to schedule a follow-up appointment. An instruction sheet will be provided to you with valuable information about your recovery at home. Discharge Planning During your stay, your caregivers will work with you and your family to plan for you to leave the hospital. In order to provide continuity of care, and to ensure that each patient has a safe and appropriate discharge, planning begins on the day you arrive at the hospital. You also may be seen during your stay by our discharge advocate who will discuss options for your post-discharge care and self-care needs. Your discharge instructions will provide important information about preventing readmission, such as keeping scheduled appointments and post-discharge testing, taking medicines correctly, and when to call your doctor. Good planning takes time, so please let your nurse know as soon as possible if you have any concerns or have been having any problems at home. Important things you and your family should know to prepare for you to leave the hospital: Obtain your prescriptions and discharge instructions. Know about your health condition and what you can do to help yourself get better. Know about problems to watch for and what to do about them. Know the reason why you are taking prescribed medicines and their side effects. Know the contact information of the home medical equipment company. Know your appropriate level of activity. Know how to perform any tasks that require special care at home. Know when your follow-up appointment needs to be scheduled. Ask your caregivers to get prescriptions and other special need items early, so that you will not need to make extra trips after you leave the hospital. Preparing to Leave the Hospital The day you leave the hospital can be busy. There are a number of things to do to prepare to leave the hospital. You should begin thinking about these things the day you are admitted. Use the checklist that follows to help you. Who will pick you up from the hospital? Do you need us to make other arrangements for transportation? Will your ride be available when you need it? What clothes will you wear when you leave the hospital? Does someone need to bring them in? How will you get your prescriptions filled? 14

17 When leaving, please make sure: You have all personal items from the closet, bedside stand, bathroom, and sink area. You have any valuables you may have left with Security. Let your nurses know in advance if you need help with any arrangements. The hospital staff also has a to do list to help prepare you to leave the hospital. The staff will: Coordinate needed services and equipment. Educate you about any new medicines. Give you the prescriptions your doctor has written for you. Give you any other needed information and answer any questions or concerns you or your family members have about discharge or your care after you leave the hospital. Leaving The Hospital Your doctor and nurses will work with you and your family to make your discharge as smooth as possible. When you leave the hospital, you may be going home without any need for assistance or outside services, or your doctor may recommend specific home health care services. You may need medical equipment or other services at home, such as homedelivered meals or personal care. Some patients may need a short-term stay in our rehab or Transitional Care Unit. Other patients may need longer-term care, such as personal care at home or nursing home admission. It is important to remember that no 2 discharge plans are exactly the same. Whatever your individual post-hospital needs may be, Social Services is available to assist you in making the necessary plans to meet those needs. Social Services will work closely with you, your family, doctor, nursing, and other departments to develop and implement the best discharge plan for you. A member of the Social Services staff may meet with you after you are admitted to the hospital. If you would like to request a meeting, your nurse or doctor can make a referral on your behalf, or you may contact Social Services directly at For more information, please refer to the Social Services section of this handbook on page 10. Scheduling Follow-Up Appointments After you leave the hospital, your doctor may request that you have additional tests or exams as part of your ongoing medical care. UPMC Northwest offers patients a convenient option to schedule many of their needs, such as laboratory tests, medical imaging (x-rays, CT scans, MRIs), EKGs, non-invasive cardiology (stress tests, echo cardiology), and preoperative testing, by calling Central Scheduling at Billing Hospital Charges for your UPMC Northwest hospitalization depends on your length of stay and services rendered. A daily room charge is assessed for room and board services. Laboratory tests, radiology procedures, physical therapy, operating room, and other services, as well as any special supplies, result in additional charges. Insurance carriers, including Medicare, require your doctor and hospital to determine the correct billing status for your hospital stay. The billing status is based upon clinical guidelines regarding the severity of your illness and the services that are provided to you. 15

18 If you are classified under an observation status, you may be responsible for a copayment or a deductible if observation status is not covered by your insurance carrier. If you are in the hospital and want to know if you have been admitted under observation or as an inpatient, please ask your nurse. A complete hospital bill will not be available when you leave the hospital. A summary bill of charges will be forwarded to you when the final bill is complete. This will be an informational statement and is not intended for insurance purposes. UPMC Northwest will submit a claim to your insurance carrier. Your carrier usually will provide you with an explanation of benefits (EOB) that shows amounts paid to the hospital. Billing also will be submitted to any secondary insurance carriers. If your account is not paid in full, you will be billed for the outstanding balance. If you are uninsured, you will be contacted by a financial counselor while you are a patient, if possible, to establish payment arrangements or to assist you in applying for Medical Assistance or the hospital s Financial Assistance Program. If you have any questions during your stay about your hospital bill, please contact Customer Service Billing at UPMC Northwest Foundation UPMC Northwest Foundation oversees fundraising and financial development activities for UPMC Northwest. The foundation s sole purpose is to support UPMC Northwest in its mission to provide high-quality health care for area residents. The foundation exclusively supports UPMC Northwest. Among the foundation s most visible projects are its provision of grants for current capital projects and health awareness, education, and prevention programs. Every gift given to the foundation goes directly to support the project for which the donor contributes. No part of anyone s gift is ever used to cover the foundation s administrative or other costs. To learn more about the foundation and the options that it provides for charitable giving in support of UPMC Northwest, call the foundation office at Patient Education The Learning Resource Center Pamphlets, books, and other teaching materials are available on the patient units. The Learning Resource Center, located on the ground floor of the hospital, can be contacted at to request information on medical conditions, treatments, procedures, and post-hospital care. Information on health classes and support groups also is available. The UPMC website is another resource that offers patients/consumers a direct link to health information. Visit UPMC.com. Patient Education Channel UPMC Northwest is proud to offer patient education TV programs on a wide variety of topics. Refer to the playlist in your patient information folder for channel information and program times. We also offer a relaxation channel with soft music and calming scenery. 16

19 Hand Washing To Prevent Infections Germs and Infection The purpose of UPMC s Infection Control Program is to prevent the spread of germs. Germs and infections can travel from patient to patient, from patient to staff and visitors, or from staff to patients and visitors. Following are guidelines to reduce your risk of infection while you are in this hospital or other health care facilities. If your family or friends are feeling ill, please ask them not to come to the hospital to visit you. Cleaning Your Hands The most important step to prevent the spread of germs and infections is hand washing. Wash your hands often, and be sure to wash your hands each time you: Touch any blood or body fluids. Touch bedpans, dressings, or other soiled items. Use the bathroom or bedpan. If you are coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose, clean your hands often. And, before you eat, always clean your hands. Here s how you should clean your hands with soap and water: Wet your hands and wrists with warm water. Use soap. Work up a good lather and rub hard for 15 seconds or longer. Rinse your hands well. Dry your hands well. Use a clean paper towel to turn off the water, and throw it away afterwards. Here s how you should clean your hands with hand sanitizers (waterless hand cleaners): For gel product, use one application. For foam product, use a golf-ball size amount. Apply product to the palm of your hand. Rub your hands together. Cover all surfaces of your hands and fingers until they are dry. Standard Precautions Health care workers often wear gloves, gowns, masks, or eye protection. Staff may wear some of these protective items while caring for you. This practice is called standard precautions. This practice protects all patients and staff from germs and infections. Special Precautions Sometimes a patient has a germ that can easily spread to other people. To protect others from the germ, special precautions are used. These special practices prevent the spread of the germs that can cause disease. If you have a known or suspected infection that requires special precautions, your nurse will explain these practices to you. If You Have Questions UPMC Northwest wants your stay to be as pleasant as possible. It is important that you understand the need for hand washing, standard precautions, and special precautions. If you have any questions, please ask your nurse or doctor. You also may contact Infection Control if you have questions. Please tell your nurse if you want to contact Infection Control. 17

20 Five Steps To Safer Health Care 1. Speak up if you have questions or concerns. Choose a doctor you feel able to talk to about your health and your medical care. Take a relative or close friend to your doctor visit if this will help you to ask questions and understand the answers better. Ask questions and insist on answers that you can understand. 2. Keep a list of all the medicines you take. Tell your doctor and pharmacist all the medicines you take. This includes overthe-counter medicines, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, vitamins, herbs, and other supplements. Tell the doctor about any allergies or reactions you ve had when taking a medicine. Ask if you should avoid any food, alcohol, activities, sunlight, or exercise when taking a medicine. Read the label, including warnings, when you get your medicine. When you pick up your medicine, ask the pharmacist if it s the medicine your doctor ordered. Before you leave the pharmacy, make sure you know how to take the medicine. If you take a lot of different medicines, use a 7-day pill organizer available at drugstores. This can help you to keep track of the correct time and day to take each of your medicines. 3. Make sure you get the results of any test or procedure. Ask your doctor or nurse when and how you will get the results of tests or procedures. If you do not get the results when expected, don t just think that the results are fine. Call your doctor to ask for the results. Ask what the results mean for your care. 4. Talk with your doctor and health care team about your options if you need hospital care. If you can choose from several hospitals, ask your doctor which one has the best care and gets the best results for your condition. Many hospitals are good at treating a wide range of problems. For certain tests, procedures, and surgeries (for example, heart surgery), studies show that results are often better at hospitals that do them in greater numbers. Before you leave the hospital, ask about your follow-up care. Be sure you understand the instructions. 5. Make sure you understand what will happen if you need surgery. Make sure you, your doctor, and your surgeon agree on exactly what will be done during the operation. Tell your surgeon, anesthesiologist, and nurses if you have allergies. Tell them if you ve ever had a bad reaction to anesthesia. Questions to ask are: Who will have charge of my care while I m in the hospital? How long will the surgery last? What will happen after surgery? How can I expect to feel during recovery? How long will I be in the hospital? Will I need a ride home from the hospital? Will I need any prescriptions or supplies from the pharmacy? Will I need home care nurses or any type of therapy at home? 18

21 What will my physical limits be and for how long? When should I make a follow-up appointment? Pain Control Pain Medicines Are Safe Pain medicines are safe and helpful when given by doctors and nurses. Some people worry that they will become addicted to the medicine they get for pain. This almost never happens when these medicines are used for the relief of pain. Talk to your doctor or nurse if you are worried about this. Some Things Make Pain Worse Pain or discomfort may be greater: After operations (surgery). When doing certain activities. During the healing process. Take pain medicine before walking or exercising. The medicine can make that activity less painful and perhaps help to speed your recovery. Not Just Medicines We may use other methods beside pain medicines to help control your pain. These may include: Putting heat or cold on the painful area. Mild electrical stimulation of the nerves. If Medicine Does Not Help If medicine does not help your pain, or if you are having side effects, please tell your doctor or nurse. Tell us if you: Have a stomach ache, nausea, vomiting. Feel too sleepy. Are constipated. Itch all over. Your doctor may order medicines that can help to relieve your side effects. Preventing Falls Falls Are a Threat to Your Health Falling can have bad effects on your health. Injury from a fall can lead to losing your independence. A fall can be very serious, especially if you have just had surgery or you have an illness. The following information tells you how to reduce your risk for falls and what to do if you fall. In the Hospital When you re in the hospital, it s important to do what the health care staff tells you to do. This is for your safety. For example, to reduce your risk of falling, you may be asked to call for help to get out of bed or a chair. You should use your call light and wait for help to arrive. You may be asked not to get out of bed or walk by yourself until the staff makes sure you can do so safely. You also should take a good look around your hospital room. Become aware of your surroundings. Awareness reduces your chance of falling. Certain factors increase your risk of falling in the hospital. Below is a list of risk factors and ways to reduce your risk. Medicines The side effects of medicine may increase your risk of falling. Talk to your nurse or doctor about the possible side effects of any medicines you take. 19

22 Some medicines may affect your mental or physical state. For example, pain medicines and sleeping pills can make you drowsy and weak. Be very careful when you walk after taking these medicines. Sit on the side of the bed for a minute before you get up to walk. Call for help if you feel weak or dizzy, especially if your nurse or doctor has told you to do so. Other medicines may affect your body functions. For example, diuretics cause you to urinate more often. Bowel preps make it necessary for you to get to the bathroom immediately. If your doctor has told you to call for help to get out of bed, you must do so even when you re in a hurry. There may be furniture in your path that you could stumble over. If you have an intravenous (IV) line, a catheter, or oxygen, the equipment must go with you. It may be hard to manage by yourself, and you could lose your balance. Call for help before you get up. You may want to ask for a bed side toilet or keep a bed pan next to you for an emergency. Blood pressure medicines may make you dizzy when you go from a lying to a sitting position. Sit on the edge of the bed until the dizziness passes. Footwear When you wear stockings or socks without shoes, you have a greater risk of falling. Wear shoes or slippers when you are getting out of bed. Ask the staff for a pair of slippers, or bring slippers from home. Lighting Walking in the dark is dangerous. You can trip over objects that you can t see. Turn on the light before you get out of bed. Vision If you don t see well, your risk of falling is greater. Blurred vision is a side effect of some medicines. Cataracts and other eye diseases can limit your vision. Be sure to wear your glasses or contact lenses. If you have trouble seeing, talk to your doctor or nurse. Drops and Spills If you spill water or any beverage, do not try to clean it up yourself. You may miss a spot. If you drop an item on the floor, do not try to pick it up. Bending over can make you dizzy, and you could fall. Do not lean out of bed to try to pick up something from the floor. Call for help if you drop or spill something. Disease Some diseases affect your physical strength and balance. For example, Parkinson s is a disease of the nerves and muscles that can affect the way a person walks. If you have dizziness or weakness in your legs or feet, call for help to get out of bed. Confusion When you re in a new place, you may be confused if you wake up during the night from a sound sleep. You may not remember at first where you are or how the room is arranged. Patients who try to walk in the dark often fall. 20

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