Patient Guide

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Overnight Hospital Stay

Susan Ault moved cross-country to get life-saving treatment for her lymphoma. Read her story. Adult patients of Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) who need to stay overnight in a hospital go to University of Washington Medical Center (UWMC). You may need inpatient care for a stem cell transplant, surgery, or if you become severely ill.

Children and teens receive inpatient care at Seattle Children’s.

Knowing what to expect during your hospital stay can help you and your family prepare and be reassured.

Protecting Patient Health

Smoke-free environment: We are committed to providing an entirely smoke and tobacco-free environment for all patients, visitors, and staff. Smoking is not allowed in any area, including buildings, grounds, and parking lots.

Hand washing: The most effective way to prevent the spread of infection is regular hand washing. Everyone is expected to wash their hands before entering and when leaving your room. You are encouraged to walk around the nursing unit, but avoid other patients, their families and the areas where people gather.

Bathroom use: Family members or other visitors should not use the bathrooms in the patient rooms. Public restrooms are located on all nursing units.

Surfaces in rooms: Some organisms can survive a long time on the surfaces and equipment in your room. Minimize the number of personal belongings in the room and keep surfaces clear of your belongings. It is very important that Environmental Services staff can clean these surfaces daily. If possible leave the room so staff can clean the room thoroughly.

Your Daily Hospital Routine

Your routine as a patient will be explained by your hospital nurse, but this summary gives an idea of what you can expect.

Routine blood tests: Early morning routine blood tests will be done. We will disturb you as little as possible, but our medical team needs to review your laboratory findings as early in the day as possible. Some routine tests will be drawn at other times as well.

Vital signs: Your temperature, pulse, respiration, and blood pressure will be taken every four hours. Sometimes vital signs are taken more often if we need to monitor you more closely.

Physical exams: The nurses and physicians will, at various times, listen to your heart, lungs, and abdomen with a stethoscope.

Rounds: Every morning your doctor and other members of the health care team will do ‘rounds,’ which are group discussions with each patient. This is to check on your progress and to make changes in your therapy if needed. This is a good time to ask any questions you may have and to discuss your plan of care.

Measuring output: Your urine, stool, and vomit will be measured and tested. Tests will be done on a regular basis. Please do not dispose of this output; the nurse will do it for you.

Infusion pumps: Many patients have medications and fluid running on infusion pumps, which beep for various reasons. Please use the “nurse call button” for help if an alarm rings in your room. Do not correct the pump alarms.

Transfusions: Blood and platelet transfusions may be given to you as needed.

Bathing: Daily baths or showers are required to help cleanse the body of bacteria. This may help lower the chance of infection. Your nurses will work with you to fit your bath or shower into your schedule.

Exercise: We encourage you to arrange with the nurse a time to take a walk and exercise in the halls. Your doctor may order physical therapists to work with you to help you keep up your activity level.

Nutrition: Dietitians will talk to you about your food likes and dislikes. Nutrition Services will provide meals and snacks to meet your dietary needs. You will receive a preprinted menu daily from which to order your meals. The menu you receive is designed to comply with your diet order.

Recording intake: We may be keeping an accurate record of your food and fluid intake. These records allow the dietitian to determine the amount of calories, protein, and fluids you have consumed. Your dietitian and doctor use this information to assess if you need additional IV fluid or nutrition support.

Valuables: Please do not leave money and valuables in your room because of the risk of theft.

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Tips for Visitors

Visiting hours: Please check with your nurse regarding visiting hours. We do encourage families to keep in mind their own health and to get a good night’s sleep. A nurse will contact family members at home if any problem occurs. Make sure that the nurse’s station has family members’ current phone number(s) on file for emergency use.

Visitors who are ill: Any family member or visitor who has a fever or cold, or who is not feeling well, should not come to visit you. Even minor colds and infections carry a risk. Please evaluate the health of children and their exposure to other children who may have been ill, before letting them visit.

Family room: If you use the family room, please help keep it clean. Label your food in the refrigerator with your name and the date. Food left too long will be thrown away. Money and valuables should not be left in the family room because of the risk of theft.

Cancer Library: The UWMC Cancer Library, located on floor 8 SE, has cancer-related books, videotapes, support resources, and computers to access the Internet. Volunteers are on hand to assist you.

Maps and Free Shuttle

See a map, directions, and parking for UWMC and the schedule for our free shuttle between UWMC and the SCCA outpatient clinic on Lake Union, Seattle Children's, Pete Gross House, and SCCA House.

Phones, Wi-Fi, and Mail

Phone calls: To call an outside line, dial 9 + phone number. For calls within UWMC, dial 8 + the four-digit number. Or dial “6190” for the hospital operator. For long distance calls, you must charge the call to your calling card or call collect.

Free Wi-Fi: Use your wireless utility to search for the Wi-Fi network called "Patients and Visitors." Open your web browser (e.g., Internet Explorer, Firefox, etc.) and connect to any page. You will be redirected to our page with the Terms and Conditions of use. If you accept the terms, you will have access. No username or password is required.

Mail: Mail is delivered daily to patient rooms. An Outgoing mailbox is located at the nurses’ station.

Contacting a patient: Each patient room is equipped with a phone. This phone number can be used by friends and family if the patient has given you the number. Although staff will not give out this number, calls received at the nurses’ station can be transferred into patient rooms.

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