Q: What do loved ones need to
understand about visiting the hospital?
A: Follow visitor guidelines; remember that this is
a public place and the care team is there to help the
patient. We’re not set up to take care of family members
who can’t care for themselves. There are also privacy
factors to keep in mind. You might have to step out of
the room in order to give privacy and rest time to the
patient. Questions from loved ones are also welcome. If
there is a need that is unmet by our team, please bring it
to our attention. You know your loved one better than
we do, and your participation is welcome.
→ Patient handbooks and other resources are
available online for review in advance of your
hospital stay. Visit valleyhealthlink.com/
patients-visitors for more information.
how to optimize your
No matter if you are undergoing major surgery or a
minor procedure, a hospital stay can cause a great deal
of anxiety. Planning ahead, enlisting a loved one to be
an advocate during your recovery, and communicating
with your care team can alleviate stress, according to
Jennifer Riggleman, RN, MSN, director of acute care
at Winchester Medical Center. “It’s important to be
honest with your care providers,” she says. “Remember
that this is about your health, so speak up for yourself
and your welfare.” Here, Riggleman offers further
recommendations to ensure a positive experience.
Q: What can patients do in advance of their admission
to make the most of their time in the hospital?
A: Have a good understanding of your condition and the treatment
plan; you should discuss this with your physician prior to checking in.
To put yourself in the best possible position to recover, keep a positive
attitude, and place someone in charge of things at home so you don’t
have outside worries. Plan to have a loved one with you who can act as
a second pair of ears; being in the hospital can be an anxious time, and
it is hard to remember everything you are being told. Bring a complete
list of your medications, including dosages and when you take them.
There is plenty of downtime in the hospital, so bring something to pass
the time. It’s also very helpful if you bring a copy of your advance care
directive so we’re able to follow your wishes if you are unable to speak
Q: What should patients expect from their care team?
A: Look for us to introduce ourselves. We should explain what we
are going to do before we do it and demonstrate proper hand hygiene.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. We want to know when you don’t
feel that things have been adequately explained. Ask us when we are
in the room or use the call bell; that is what it is there for. Any question
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