Patients & Visitors
Patient and Family Information
(All phone extensions listed below can only be called from within the Hospital. From outside the Hospital, please call 212-312-5000 and ask for the appropriate extension.)
Patients’ Rights and Responsibilities
When you are admitted to the Hospital, you will be given a copy of your New York State Rights and Responsibilities. New York Downtown Hospital will do all that it can to see that your rights are protected.
Your Right to Privacy
As of April 14, 2003, Federal Law (the “HIPAA law”) provides privacy protections for your medical records and gives you the right to see your own records. In order to safeguard your personal medical records, you need to know what protections and rights you have, and what you can do if you believe that those protections and/or rights have been violated. New York Downtown Hospital will provide you with a “Privacy Notice” explaining your rights and protections given by this law.
Your Rights and Responsibilities Regarding Pain Management
As a patient at New York Downtown Hospital you can expect:
• To receive information about pain relief measures.
• Treatment by concerned specialists dedicated to pain prevention and management.
• A prompt response to your reports of pain.
• State-of-the-art pain management.
• Your reports of pain will be believed.
As a patient at New York Downtown Hospital, we expect that you will:
• Ask your health care providers what to expect regarding pain and its management.
• Discuss pain relief treatments with your doctors and nurses.
• Work with your doctor and nurse to create a pain relief plan.
• Ask for pain relief medications when pain first begins.
• Help the doctors and nurse determine how bad your pain is.
• Tell the doctor or nurse about any pain that will not go away by itself.
• Not worry about getting addicted to pain medication.
Patients and families are encouraged to report safety concerns immediately. This can be done by dialing the Hospital Operator “O” from within the Hospital, or after discharge, by calling the Hospital Safety Officer at 212-312-5002.
We do not want any of our patients to fall. Our staff is specially trained to identify and help patients who are at risk for falling. There are also things that you can do to prevent yourself from falling:
• Ask for assistance from your nurse or any staff member if you feel unsteady on your feet.
• Keep your call bell near you, and use it to ask for help if you need to stand up.
• Never try to climb over the side rails on your bed.
• Do not wait until it is too late to ask someone to help you to the toilet.
Speak Up! You Can Prevent Errors in Your Care
“Speak Up” is a national effort to help patients prevent errors in the care they receive while in hospitals. New York Downtown Hospital fully supports the Speak Up campaign, and we encourage you to:
• ASK QUESTIONS if you have any concerns about the care you are receiving at Downtown Hospital.
• PAY ATTENTION to the care you are receiving. Tell your doctor or nurse if something does not seem quite right.
• EDUCATE yourself about your health condition and about the medication that you are receiving.
• ASK A TRUSTED FAMILY MEMBER OR FRIEND TO SPEAK FOR YOU when you are in the Hospital. Make sure this person understands your treatment plan and any preferences that you have regarding the care that you wish to receive or not receive. That person can ask questions that you may not think of while you are under stress.
YOU are the most important part of your healthcare team. Thank you for helping us to prevent medical errors.
About Your Medications
Are you taking any medications, herbs or vitamin supplements? If you are, it is very important that you inform your present physician at Downtown Hospital immediately. While being treated in the Hospital, please do not eat, drink, or take any medications, including herbs or vitamin supplements, which have not been prescribed by your physician or administered by the nurse. These substances may interfere with normal body functions, as well as with diagnostic tests and treatment plans. When you are discharged from the Hospital, we will provide you with a list of medications (if you need any) prescribed by your doctor, as well as complete instructions for taking these medications. Review that list with your physician and nurse carefully, and make sure that the list includes all the medications you usually take at home. If you notice that some of your regular medications are missing or the doses seem to be different, tell your doctor or nurse so that they can explain any differences.
We encourage you to share this list with your own primary care physician. We want to make sure that you completely understand the medication list and instructions before you leave the Hospital. If you have any questions about any of your medications, ask your doctor or nurse.
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At Your Service
Our patient rooms are assigned on the basis of medical requirements, availability, and, whenever possible, patient preference.
You will be assigned a Registered Nurse who will provide safe, high quality care while you are in the Hospital. The nurses will work with your physician to determine the appropriate care for you. Please speak to your nurse or the nurse manager of the unit if you have questions regarding the care you receive.
We recommend that you do not bring any valuables with you to the Hospital. If you choose to do so, we recommend that you label all personal items with your name. The label will assist us in returning property to you in the event that it is given to our Lost and Found Department. You may contact Lost and Found by calling 3333 from the telephone in your Hospital room. If you have brought valuable items to the Hospital, such as jewelry, credit cards, or money, please contact your nurse who will arrange to have them stored securely in the Hospital safe. You will be given a receipt for the items. The Hospital can not assume responsibility for the loss of items unless they are deposited in the safe.
A bedside telephone is provided for your convenience. Each telephone has an individual number so that your family and friends can call you directly. The number assigned to you is shown on the telephone. Following payment, the Cashier (or the Admitting Office during nonbusiness hours) can start your phone service. Telephone services for the hearing-impaired are available. Please speak to a member of the nursing staff.
TO PLACE A CALL:
In-Hospital Calls: Hospital telephone numbers may be called directly from your bedside telephone by pressing the last four numbers.
Local Calls: Press “9” and wait for the tone. When you hear the tone, press “1” followed by the area code and the telephone number.
Long Distance Calls: Long distance calls must be made collect or with your calling card. To call collect, press “0” for the Operator. To use your calling card, press “9” and wait for the tone. Then press “1” followed by the toll free number on your calling card. When prompted, enter your PIN.
Outgoing calls may be made twenty-four hours a day. For the convenience and comfort of all patients, incoming calls are restricted to the hours of 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Pay Phones are located in every patient lounge, in the Gold Street Lobby, and in the William Street Lobby.
In-Hospital extensions can be called directly from your phone even if it is not activated.
Television service, including health education and Chinese-language programming, is provided free of charge.
Should you have special dietary needs, please share your concerns with the nursing staff. Our Food and Nutrition Services staff will make every effort to accommodate your needs. Each day you will receive a menu selection form for the meals to be served the following day. Please complete your menu selection form each morning. Your menu selection form will be picked up between 10:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. by a member of the Food and Nutrition Services staff. Please do not leave your menu selection form on your meal tray. If your physician has placed you on a modified or special diet, do not eat or drink any other food or beverage without first checking with your nurse, physician, or a dietician. It may be necessary for you to avoid water, meals or snacks for a period of time in preparation for a test or surgical procedure. A staff member will explain any necessary restrictions. If a meal is cancelled due to a procedure, you will be served a late tray as soon as permissible following the procedure.
Unless you have special requirements, your meal tray will be served according to the following schedule:
Breakfast: 7:45 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
Lunch: 11:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Dinner: 4:45 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
The Patient Services Representative is your contact person at the Hospital if you have any questions or require any special services. The Patient Services Department can be reached by calling 5034.
Many members of our staff are fluent in languages other than English, including Spanish and various Chinese dialects. Our Patient Services Representatives can be called upon for translation assistance. Virtually all other languages are available through a network of Hospital employees or a language assistance telephone service.
Mail and other deliveries are distributed by our volunteers Monday through Friday. To assist with prompt delivery, family and friends should include your room number with the Hospital address on all mail.
SOCIAL WORK / CASE MANAGEMENT
The Continuum of Care Department staff will assist you and your family with discharge plans and counseling. Discharge planning might include home care, placement in a residential health care facility, medical equipment, or information and referrals. Speak to a member of your healthcare team.
Please contact the Patient Advocacy Department at ext. 5034 or call the Operator by pressing “0” for clergy services.
The Ethics Committee is available to discuss ethical issues and concerns about patient care and treatment. If you have a question or concern regarding your care, please bring it to the attention of a member of your healthcare team, or press “5159” on your telephone and ask for the Ethics Committee.
PALLIATIVE CARE TEAM
Palliative care aims to relieve suffering and improve the quality of life for patients with advanced illnesses. To speak with a member of the Palliative Care Team, press “5158” on your telephone.
PRECAUTIONS / INFECTION CONTROL
During your Hospital stay, you may notice that our health care providers are frequently washing their hands and may be wearing gowns, gloves, goggles and/or masks. This is a required protective measure in keeping with our concern for the well-being and safety of our patients.
For the health and safety of all patients, visitors and staff, smoking is not permitted anywhere in the Hospital.
TESTS AND PROCEDURES
During your stay, you may undergo tests, treatments, and examinations ordered by your physician to aid in your diagnosis and/or treatment. Your agreement for surgery or medical treatment is required during your stay. You will be asked to sign a consent form.
You have the right to receive a clear explanation of the information on the consent form before signing. Any questions that you may have concerning medical procedures should be directed to your physician.
To keep our Hospital staff skilled in fire protection and safety measures, we conduct periodic drills to test the Hospital’s emergency systems and plans. These drills will not interrupt your care schedule. Please do not be alarmed if you hear fire bells or drills over the public address system or if your door subsequently closes. Should an actual emergency exist, our staff’s trained response team will be immediately present to assist you.
Each member of the Hospital staff is here to serve you and to contribute to your recovery and comfort. A simple thank-you or a letter of appreciation is always welcome. Hospital regulations prohibit employees from accepting money or gifts.
Visiting Hours and Policies
Friends and relatives who wish to know about visiting hours and your location in the Hospital may call Patient Information at (212) 312-5110. Visiting hours are planned to allow family and friends to spend as much time with patients as possible without interfering with their rest and medical care. Guests are welcome to visit patients from 7:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. any day of the week on most of our nursing units. However, special visiting hours are in effect in the Intensive Care Unit, the Emergency Room and on our Maternity floor (24-hour visiting for parents). Call Patient Information for the hours for these units. The number of visitors is limited to no more than two people at a time. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Guests must obtain a pass at the Welcome Desk in the Lobby.
Several public parking garages are located in the area immediately surrounding the Hospital. A Hospital parking garage will open shortly in the adjacent Gehry Tower (8 Spruce Street).
Most patient floors have a lounge area. Your visitors are welcome to use these areas, the William Street Lobby or the Gold Street Lobby.
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Helping You to Stop Smoking
New York Downtown Hospital believes that one of the best things you can do to protect your health, and the health of those around you, is to stop smoking. Each year, smoking kills more than 400,000 people. Smoking is the number one risk factor associated with lung cancer, heart disease, and circulatory problems. Tobacco also increases the risk for cancer of the mouth, liver, stomach, esophagus, kidney, and many other organs. Each year, secondhand smoke may be responsible for 3,000 lung cancer deaths and 40,000 cases of heart disease in nonsmokers. The instant you stop smoking, you reduce these serious risks and begin to improve your health and the health of those around you. If you need information about how you or a loved one can more easily stop smoking,please talk to your doctor or nurse. There are simple steps you can take today to begin the difficult task of freeing yourself from an addiction to smoking. Another resource is the NEW YORK STATE SMOKERS QUITLINE (1-866-NY-QUITS or www.nysmokefree.com), which can provide you with free information and tools to help you stop smoking.
Preparing to Leave the Hospital
Your doctor will tell you at least 24 hours before your discharge when you will be going home. Prior to your discharge, you will be asked to complete certain administrative procedures to ensure a safe and smooth transition from the Hospital. The discharge time is usually 10:00 a.m. Please contact your nurse or physician if you need assistance with planning your discharge. If you have deposited any valuables in the Hospital safe, please withdraw them by presenting your receipt to the Cashier’s Office before you leave, Monday through Friday between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. At other times, please call the Security Department at Ext. 3333 for assistance.
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HIPAA Patient Privacy
Patient Services and Facilities