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Healthy Focus Magazine

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Allegheny General Hospital
320 East North Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
412.359.3131

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Allegheny General Hospital

Patient Care Services

 At Allegheny General Hospital, we supplement our outstanding clinical care with patient care services designed to make the patient's stay and transition home more comfortable.

Account Assistance Program Mail
Advance Directives Medical Record Requests
Assisting in Your Healthcare Notary Public
Automated Teller Machines Pain Medicine
Billing Parking
Blood Donation Pastoral Care
Bloodless Medicine Patient Access Services
Case Management/
Discharge Planning Services
Patient Education
Cashier Patient Representative
Dietary Patient Requests for Test Results
Discharge Patient Safety
Discharge Parking Instructions Personal Items
Donations Pharmacy
Ethics Policy Private-Duty Nurses
Fire Drills/Safety Private Rooms
Flowers and Packages Rehabilitation Services
Food and Refreshments Smoking Policy
Gift Shops Social Work Services
Hearing-Impaired Services Sunrise
Home Care Telegrams
Hospice Telephone/Television
Infant/Child Security Vaccines
Integrated Medicine Visiting Hours
Laboratory Testing Volunteers
Leisure Reading  Waiting Room Guidelines
Lodging and Transportation  

 

Account Assistance Program

If you or your family member lacks the means to pay all or part of the hospital bill, please inform your admissions representative during the registration process. The representative can provide you with information regarding the Account Assistance Program. Financial counselors are also available to explain and assist you and your family with our Account Assistance application process, along with other payment options. If you are not able to complete an Account Assistance Application during the admissions process, you may apply after your discharge by calling Billing Inquiry at 412.442.2500.

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Advance Directives

What is an advance directive?
An advance directive is a set of written directions that an individual develops while he or she is able to make decisions regarding his or her care. These directions are intended for use only if the patient becomes unable to participate in the decision-making process. If you have an advance directive, it is necessary that you provide a copy to the nurse to place in your medical record.

If you do not have an advance directive, your healthcare team can use this opportunity to provide you with information about preparing one, if you desire.

Why is an advance directive important?
Many patients admitted to a hospital are seriously ill or critically injured and unable to make their healthcare wishes known. In these cases, it is important for the physician to be familiar with the patient’s wishes concerning life-saving and life-sustaining treatment. An advance directive, such as a living will or durable power of attorney, can provide this information for a patient who is unable to express his or her wishes or participate in decisions about their care. An advance directive also can be helpful to families. With the patient’s wishes clearly expressed, loved ones often do not need to make difficult decisions regarding the patient’s medical care.

What kind of information is contained in an advance directive?
A living will should specify what life-saving or life-sustaining treatments the patient wants, as well as those he or she does not want and under what circumstances treatment should be withheld. For example, a patient may specify that artificial ventilation should be used if the chances of recovery are good. The patient also may specify that artificially ventilation should not be used if there is little or no chance of recovery.

What is the physician’s involvement in developing an advance directive?
Because the doctor will carry out the patient’s wishes regarding medical care, he or she should be actively involved in helping the patient develop an advance directive. A firm understanding of the patient's wishes will help the physician to clearly provide information, give professional advice and effectively communicate the risks and benefits of various treatment options.

Does an advance directive replace the physician’s judgment?
An advance directive is not designed to replace the physician’s judgment; rather, it is designed to help your doctor make treatment recommendations and decisions in a manner consistent with the patient’s wishes.

If a patient is critically ill and cannot participate in the decision making process regarding his or her own medical care, how does the family know what treatments the patient would want?
If the family members know that the patient has developed an advance directive, it is their responsibility to provide a copy of the document to the doctor for inclusion in the patient’s medical record. If the patient has not executed an advance directive or if the family is uncertain, the family should discuss concerns about life-sustaining treatment with the physician, who can explain the risks, benefits and likely outcome of each treatment.

Who can provide more information and brochures about advance directives?
Call the Allegheny General Hospital Department of Social Work Services at 412.359.4765 for more information on advance directives.

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Assisting In Your Healthcare

Safety in your care delivery is enhanced by your involvement as a partner in the healthcare process.

Ask Questions
Consider bringing a family member, friend or caregiver with you during your admission. They may make you more comfortable, and can remind you of questions that need to be asked, as well as remember any instructions you may receive. Feel free to ask as many questions as necessary to understand and actively participate in the direction of your care.

Talk with Members of Your Healthcare Team
Your team includes a number of healthcare professionals, including doctors, nurses, case managers, therapists, pharmacists, technicians and others. In a teaching hospital such as Allegheny General, residents and medical students are also members of your healthcare team. Every person on your team plays an active role in your care. Feel free to ask them questions about your care and express your values and preferences. All members of your healthcare team wear name badges to identify who they are and their job title.

Identify Yourself
While in the hospital, you may travel to many departments throughout your stay, and you may be seen by many different doctors, nurses or other practitioners. As a partner in your healthcare, you should identify who you are and why you are there. When undergoing a particular procedure (such as surgery or an X-ray), please feel comfortable confirming the site of the procedure.

Understand Your Medical Condition
An important part of assisting your healthcare provider is understanding your medical condition. If you don’t understand your condition, prescribed medical tests and/or treatments, please discuss them with your healthcare provider. Feel free to ask what may have caused the condition, how long it will last and how to get more information. If you don’t understand a medical test, such as a blood test or X-ray, ask your doctor or nurse to explain why it is important. Additionally, ask the doctor to explain the results and what they mean. The patient and family are responsible for outcomes if they do not follow the care, service or treatment plan.

Know Your Medications
When being admitted to the hospital, bring a list of all medications you are currently taking, including prescriptions, over-the-counter medications and nutritional supplements such as vitamins, minerals and herbal supplements, as well as the amount of each you take and any side effects or reactions you have experienced from them. In the hospital, you may begin taking medications that are different from those you were taking prior to your admission. It is important to understand what medications you are taking while you are in the hospital and why you are taking them. You should also know what they look like, what dosage they are, what times you are to take them, as well as their potential side effects. You should ask questions about your medications if they are unfamiliar to you.

Discharge
Once you leave the hospital, you may be taking one or more new medications or different dosages of the medications you were taking prior to your hospital stay. It is important to understand the name, dosage, frequency and side effects of each medicine your doctor prescribes. In addition, you may want to discard your old medications to reduce your risk of taking the wrong one or wrong dosage. Please address any questions or concerns with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Understand Any Instructions You are Given
When you leave the hospital, you will be given a list of instructions to follow. Following these instructions is important. Make sure the information is understandable to you and/or your caregiver.

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Automated Teller Machines

Automated Teller Machines are located near the entrance to Cafe Allegheny on the second floor of the Snyder Pavilion (inpatient hospital) and on the first floor near the James Street Parking Garage elevators. A change machine is located on the second floor of Snyder Pavilion by the vending machines.

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Billing

Hospital
Charges for your Allegheny General hospitalization depend on the length of stay and services rendered. A daily room charge is assessed for room and board services. Laboratory tests, radiology procedures, physical therapy, operating rooms and other services, as well as any special supplies, result in additional charges.

A complete hospital bill may not be available when you are discharged. An informational statement will be forwarded to you when the final bill is complete.

Allegheny General 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. If your account is not paid in full, you may be billed for the outstanding balance.

If you have questions regarding hospital bills during your stay, please contact your admissions representative. If you have questions after you are discharged, please call Hospital Billing at 412.442.2500 or toll-free at 1.800.547.0540.

Physician
In addition to hospital services, you will receive services from physicians during your stay at Allegheny General. These physicians will bill you or your insurance carrier separately for services provided. Besides your attending physician, you may receive bills from a radiologist (if you have X-rays), cardiologist (if you have an EKG), surgeon and anesthesiologist (if you have surgery), and any consulting physicians.

If you have questions regarding physician bills, please reference the phone number on your bill or call 412.330.5591 or toll-free at 1.866.907.7551.

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Blood Donation

Voluntary blood donation is vital to our hospital, which uses more than 50,000 blood products annually. Allegheny General depends on Central Blood Bank of Pittsburgh for blood products. You can schedule a blood donation at any of the following locations:

Allegheny Valley Hospital
724.224.5100, Ext. 3810
Moon Township
412.262.3771
 
Armstrong
724.543.8473
New Kensington
724.339.3652
Butler
724.284.0038
North Hills
412.369.1200
Cranberry
724.776.9949
Peters Township
724.941.9050
Downtown
412.209.7000 or 412.209.7010
South Hills
412.882.3636
Fairmont, W.Va.
304.366.3471
Washington
724.228.8500
Grove City
724.458.5442, Ext. 342
Weirton, W.Va.
304.797.9651
Monroeville
412.856.0505
 

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Bloodless Medicine and Surgery Center (BMS)

Bloodless medicine refers to medical care that does not involve the use of blood or blood products. You may seek bloodless medical care for yourself or your child for such reasons as a deeply religious personal belief.

Because of increased awareness of the risks associated with blood transfusions and a shortage of blood and blood products, researchers have developed medical and surgical interventions that reduce or eliminate the need for transfusions. These innovations range from simple changes in medical practice, such as avoiding excessive pre-operative blood sampling, to complex technology that recycles blood that is shed during surgery. Because of its complexity, bloodless medicine relies on a healthcare team that includes doctors, nurses, laboratory staff and support staff specifically trained to care for and respect a patient’s right to non-blood medical management. Allegheny General offers some of the latest technology to meet the challenges of bloodless medicine and surgery.

A BMS Coordinator is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to answer your questions and discuss your concerns regarding Allegheny General’s bloodless medicine care. The Coordinator can be reached toll-free at 1.877.284.2100 or can be paged through the hospital operator at 412.359.3131.

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Case Management/Discharge Planning Services

The coordination of your care and discharge planning are interdisciplinary processes, which include you, your family/significant other, your doctor and other clinical staff who participate in the delivery of your care. Shortly after your admission to the hospital, your bedside nurse will perform an initial assessment which includes a discussion of your past medical history, your current health status, your wellness needs and your needs for discharge planning. A Clinical Case Manager will review this information and may visit you to discuss your care needs and discharge planning if indicated or requested.

If you have any questions regarding your hospital stay and/or discharge planning, you are encouraged to discuss these concerns with your doctor. Additionally, you may ask your bedside nurse to refer you to a Clinical Case Manager or call Case Management directly at 412.359.3434.

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Cashier

Patient payments may be made at the Cashier’s Office, located on the first floor in the Main Lobby of the Snyder Pavilion. In addition, valuables may be kept at the Cashier’s Office during your stay.

The Financial Cashier Office is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to noon. Payments may be made to the Parking Office cashier window anytime, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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Dietary

Each day, a Patient Hostess from the Food and Nutrition Services Department will visit you to collect your food selections. Lunch selections will be gathered in the morning, while dinner and the following day’s breakfast selections will be collected in the afternoon. You should inform your nurse or physician of any dietary restrictions you may have. The Food and Nutrition Services Department also will make every effort to offer foods that conform to your religious preference.

Food and Nutrition Services provides guest trays to patients’ family members. Guest trays are available for all meals by request for $4.50 a meal. To request a guest tray, please call the Dietary Office at 412.359.3632 between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. or simply inform your nurse of the items you would like to have brought to your room. The staff will provide a listing of available menu options for the day, and the tray will be delivered to the patient’s room during the next scheduled meal period. The guest tray charge will appear on the final patient bill.

The staff provides 4-inch cakes to patients on their birthdays or anniversaries. Please ask your nurse to order a cake at least 24 hours before your special day.

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Discharge

Discharge planning begins within 24 hours after your admission to the hospital to ensure that you and your family are adequately prepared. This plan will be adapted to your individual healthcare needs following your discharge to home or transfer to another facility, should you require ongoing care such as skilled nursing care.

It is very important that you and/or your designated decision maker actively participate in this planning process. Several keys to a successful discharge/transfer plan include:

  • Provide all requested information to your clinical team in a timely fashion. This includes information related to your home environment, such as the presence of steps or location of bathrooms/bedrooms in your home, as well as social support systems available to you.
  • Provide copies of required legal/financial documents such as powers of attorney or guardianship.
  • Complete, sign and return required forms in a timely fashion.
  • Participate in patient/family/clinical team conferences when requested and maintain ongoing and timely communication with your doctor and clinical team.
  • When necessary, request family members/decision makers visit potential transfer facilities such as skilled nursing facilities in a timely fashion.
  • Identify who will assist you following your discharge/transfer and provide contact information for that individual.
  • Proactively plan for your transportation home or to another facility, if necessary.
  • Proactively plan for your financial responsibility of post-discharge services that may not be covered by your insurance, such as ambulances and medications.
  • If you are unclear about aspects of your discharge plan, please ask questions and request assistance.

Your physicians will notify you of your exact discharge/transfer date the day before you leave. Most patients are discharged by 11 a.m. Please request that your family member or ride be here before 11 a.m. to assist with final preparations for your discharge. Additionally, it is recommended your family members take as many of your non-essential personal items home the evening before your discharge to minimize the amount of belongings needed to be carried out at the time of your discharge.

On the day of discharge, your physician will write prescriptions for any medications you may need for continued recovery. He may also ask you to schedule a follow-up appointment.

Before leaving the hospital, please do the following:

  • Look in the closet, bedside furniture and bathroom for personal items.
  • Ensure that any IV lines or other devices have been removed before leaving the hospital.
  • Withdraw any valuables from the Cashier’s Office.
  • Obtain prescriptions from your physician and understand all instructions about medication, daily activities or diet.
  • Check with the nurse about appointments or follow-up outpatient procedures your physician has recommended for you.
  • Sign all required admissions forms. Call Patient Access Services at 412.359.3061 if you are unsure whether this requirement has been met.
  • Please make sure that your family member or friend knows to pick you up at the Outpatient Parking area of the Sandusky Street Entrance.
  • Upon discharge, have your family member or friend take all of your personal belongings to the vehicle.
  • We ask that you send your family member or friend ahead of you during your transport to his or her vehicle so that he or she will already be at the Sandusky Street Entrance upon your discharge there.

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Discharge Parking Instructions

For your convenience, on the day of discharge, family or friends picking up patients are directed to park in the second entrance on Sandusky Street, which is marked “Outpatient Entrance.” They will be directed to parking accommodations and receive a parking ticket.

Upon returning to the garage with your patient, please stop at the Cashier/Information Desk in the Outpatient Lobby where, upon presenting your discharge papers, you will have the parking ticket validated. Service associates and attendants are available at all times to provide directions and assistance.

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Donations

Many of our patients and families ask how they can make a donation to Allegheny General Hospital. You may make a gift to create a lasting memorial to a loved one or to honor a deserving employee, physician or department.

There are many ways to give to Allegheny General Hospital through the Office of Fund Development. For more information about donating, please call the office at 412.359.5110, or you can make your donation online by clicking here.

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Ethics Policy

Allegheny General has a Code of Ethics and related policies and procedures to address ethical issues. These policies and procedures are available on request to all patients and family members. The patient or family member may directly consult the Ethics Committee regarding ethical questions related to treatment decisions.

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Fire Drills/Safety

Allegheny General operates a comprehensive Fire Safety Program throughout the hospital using sophisticated fire-detection and suppression equipment. This program requires that all hospital employees participate in an ongoing educational program on how to deal effectively with fire-related emergencies. Fire stations are only a few blocks away from the hospital and respond quickly to any potential fire. Allegheny General also maintains an internal Emergency Response Team that is trained to respond to fire emergencies.

Periodic fire drills are conducted to monitor the hospital staff’s ability to react appropriately to fire emergencies. Should you hear the fire alarm followed by a recorded message, please do not worry; it is probably a staff fire drill. Hospital staff members are required to close the door leading into your patient room during all fire drills.

If you smell smoke or an unusual odor, please notify any of the hospital staff. If you see smoke or fire, please do the following:

  • Remove yourself and other people from immediate danger.
  • Pull the nearest fire alarm.
  • Contain any further spread of heat and/or smoke by closing all doors in the immediate fire area.
  • Seek a safe place away from the immediate fire area behind a closed door. Often, a safe place of refuge will be your patient room.

In an actual fire emergency, patients are instructed to stay in their rooms with the doors closed to keep out fire and smoke. In the unlikely event of a fire that produces excessive smoke, towels or other linen soaked with water and placed at the foot of the door leading to the corridor will help prevent smoke from entering patient rooms. Because the hospital is equipped with an engineered smoke-control system, windows must always remain closed. You will receive additional instructions on what to do in a fire emergency from a member of the hospital staff, Emergency Response Team or the fire bureau/department.

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Flowers and Packages

Flowers, mylar balloons and packages will be delivered directly to your room. Flowers and/or plants are not permitted on the critical care unit because they present a potential hazard to patients with lowered resistance to infection. Flowers or plants for patients on these units will be returned to the florist, who will contact the sender.

Latex and rubber balloons are not permitted in any area of Allegheny General’s campus because of the associated risks involving children and severe allergic reactions to latex. If these types of balloons are delivered for a patient, they will be returned to the florist, who will contact the sender.

If you have questions about what gifts are allowed to be delivered to your room, please ask your nurse or doctor.

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Food and Refreshments

Cafeteria
Cafe Allegheny, AGH's cafeteria, is located on the second floor of Snyder Pavilion.

Grand Grounds Coffee Cart
The Grand Grounds Coffee Cart is located in the main lobby on the first floor of Snyder Pavilion, near the Allegheny General Hospital Gift Shop.

Allegheny General Hospital Gift Shop
The Allegheny General Hospital Gift Shop is located in the main lobby on the first floor of Snyder Pavilion.

Cancer Center Gift Shop
The Cancer Center Gift Shop is located on the second floor of the Allegheny Cancer Center near the  James Street Parking Garage entrance and Allegheny Cancer Center Cafe.

For hours of operation or more information about the dining facilities at Allegheny General Hospital, please visit our dining information page.

Snack and soda vending machines are located on most floors in the Snyder Pavilion, as well as in the Emergency Department waiting area, trauma waiting area and outside the SICU waiting room. A food vending machine, microwave oven, snack machine and soda machine are located at the entrance to Cafe Allegheny. All of these machines are accessible 24 hours a day.

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Gift Shop

The Gift Shop at Allegheny General Hospital offers a variety of gifts, flowers, novelty items, mylar balloons, jewelry, greeting cards, magazines, snacks, beverages and more. Need fresh flowers or a helium balloon bouquet delivered to a patient or employee? Call the friendly staff at the Gift Shop at 412.359.3168 and they will assist with your selection and deliver it within the hour.

Located on the first floor of the main lobby in the Snyder Pavilion, the Gift Shop is open 8 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Similar but condensed merchandise can also be found in our Cancer Center Gift Shop, located on the second floor of the Cancer Center, open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

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Hearing-Impaired Services

Please let your nurse know if you have a hearing impairment. The services listed below are available to our hearing-impaired patients, free of charge. Please let your nurse know if you need any of these services during your hospital stay.

Personal amplifiers - Personal amplifiers are generic amplification devices that can be used by individuals with a mild to severe hearing impairment to improve communication.

Telecommunication Devices for the Deaf (TDD) - A TDD is a telephone system that allows a deaf individual to communicate by telephone by typing a message and receiving information in the same way.

Closed-caption television decoder - A decoder displays captions of the television soundtrack on the viewer’s television screen.

Sign language interpreter - Certified sign language interpreters can be scheduled to help with communication between deaf patients and medical staff.

If any additional services are required to help you with effective communication during your stay, please discuss with your nurse and request a Social Work Services consultation.

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Home Care

Allegheny Home Care provides comprehensive home-health services for patients requiring care after discharge. Home Care personnel can provide medical services and supplies and arrange for health equipment to be delivered to your home. Your doctor can order these services for you. For more information about Home Care, call 412.665.3555.

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Hospice

Forbes Hospice provides end-of-life care for patients from all of our hospitals, with the mission of preserving dignity in the last stages of life through state-of-the-art care for patients and families and supporting education and research to advance the delivery of care for the terminally ill.

Forbes Hospice provides hospice and palliative home care for Allegheny, Beaver, Washington and Westmoreland counties. Forbes Hospice nurses provide comfort, care and support in conjunction with counselors, chaplains and home health aides, and are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A hospice inpatient nursing unit is available for those who aren’t able to be cared for at home.

If you are currently in the hospital and have questions about Forbes Hospice, please contact the clinical case manager assigned to your care. If you are no longer in the hospital, please call 1.800.381.8080 for more information.

Short-term inpatient hospice care is also available at Allegheny General Hospital. Please ask your case manager about this service.

Click here for more details about Forbes Hospice.

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Infant/Child Security

To protect our youngest patients, AGH implemented the Infant/Child Abduction Program.

Inpatient pediatric units are equipped with electronic monitoring devices and all visitors to these units are required to obtain ID badges daily to gain entry. During normal visiting hours, ID badges can be obtained at the Information Desk, located on the first floor in the Main Lobby of the Snyder Pavilion. After 8:30 p.m., ID badges are distributed by the Security Department, also located on the first floor of the Snyder Pavilion.

Parents will be provided with written and verbal information on infant/child security upon admission to any Pediatric Units. Parents should remain alert and report any unusual behavior to their doctor or nurse or contact the Security Department at 412.359.3193.

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Integrated Medicine

The Integrated Medicine Program is dedicated to integrating the best conventional and natural healing practices to strengthen the health and well-being of the patients it serves.

The program is respectful of the emotional, social, spiritual and physical dimensions of health and illness. The Integrated Medicine Program intends to further advance the acceptance of this new blend of medicine in the medical and scientific communities. By blending together the very best from modern medicine along with self-healing strategies and wisdom from ancient practices, our hope is to help you live a more peaceful and healthier life.

Some of the Integrated Medicine Program's services include:

  • Acupuncture
  • Community Education
  • Stress Management
  • Holistic Psychology Services
  • Massage Therapy
  • Pet Therapy
  • Reiki

For more information about the Integrated Medicine Program at Allegheny General Hospital, call 412.359.8336 or click here.

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Laboratory Testing

Pathology and laboratory medicine play an essential role in patient care. Our laboratory takes pride in offering the highest quality services to both inpatients and outpatients.

The laboratory offers a network of community-based Patient Service Centers for patient specimen collection, including sites on the North Side and in Wexford, West Mifflin, Gibsonia and Kennedy Township. We transmit results to AGH physicians via our laboratory information system to efficiently provide rapid results required for your care. For directions to and hours of operation for these centers, call Laboratory Client Services at 412.359.3542.

The AGH Laboratory Outreach Program meets the needs of patients in the community by serving each of our hospitals, as well as area medical offices and nursing homes. Quality is maintained through the extensive use of quality control samples, proficiency testing and other quality monitors combined with professional oversight and review.

In this time of rapid change in our healthcare delivery system, we stand ready to assist you by providing diagnostic laboratory services of excellent quality with most results available within 24 hours.

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Leisure Reading

Volunteers circulate a used book/magazine cart throughout the nursing units and waiting rooms for your reading enjoyment. If you miss the cart, you may call the Volunteer Services Office at 412.359.3067.

Books can be returned directly to the cart. If you do not see the volunteer before you are discharged, return all books to the Volunteer Services Office on the first floor of the South Tower, near the James Street Parking Garage information desk.

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Lodging and Transportation

Lodging

There are a variety of hotels located near Allegheny General Hospital, as well as apartments available for weekly or monthly rental. For a complete listing of these lodging options, please visit our Lodging & Travel page.

Transportation

For traveling throughout the city and neighboring communities, the following companies offer public transportation options for you and your loved ones:

  • Yellow Cab
    412.322.8100
  • People’s Cab
    412.681.3131
  • Port Authority
    412.442.2000
  • Greyhound Bus Lines
    412.392.6513

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Mail

Mail is delivered once a day, Monday through Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Friends and relatives should use the following format when sending any mail to your room:

Your full name
Room number
Allegheny General Hospital
320 E. North Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15212

To send mail, give cards and letters to the nurse on your unit, who will place them in the mail drop.

Family and friends can also send an electronic greeting card to any AGH patient by clicking here. Choose from Get Well, Thinking of You, New Baby or Holiday greeting covers and then include your personal message. E-cards are printed and personally delivered by volunteers Monday through Friday within 24 hours of receipt, except holidays. The patient e-card service is provided free of charge.

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Medical Record Requests

To request copies of your medical records after discharge, you can call the Medical Records Correspondence Section at 412.359.4234. They will send you an authorization for release of medical information that you will need to complete and return. Medical Records will then send the copies to the facility or person specified on the authorization form.

There is no fee for release of information to physicians or healthcare facilities for continuation of patient care; however, there is a fee associated with copies for personal use. Medical Records can discuss these fees with you when  you call to request the release of your records.

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Notary Public

A notary public is available for patients and families by appointment. If you require a notary public’s service for medical or discharge purposes only, please call 412.359.4765 to arrange an appointment through the Social Work Services Department.

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Pain Medicine

The Pain Management Center at Allegheny General Hospital provides comprehensive pain management services for patients throughout western Pennsylvania. The Pain Management Center provides patients with easy access to the medical specialties they need to receive comprehensive pain management treatments. Our clinical services include evaluation and medical management of pain disorders.

These services may be suggested by your doctor either after surgical procedures fail to completely relieve your pain or when conservative treatments fail prior to considering surgery. An appointment with our pain management specialists requires a physician’s referral.

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Parking

Patients who must park their vehicle in the garage during their hospitalization will receive a discounted rate. Please call the Parking Department at 412.359.6455 prior to your discharge. Reduced parking is available for family members of patients who have been in the hospital for more than 14 days. Your family members can receive reduced parking at the Cashier’s Office, located in the main lobby on the first floor of Snyder Pavilion.

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Pastoral Care

During your stay at Allegheny General Hospital, you may need help to tap those spiritual and personal resources necessary to maintain your sense of faith, hope and well-being. Through the Pastoral Care Department, chaplains are available to minister to the spiritual and emotional needs you and your family have at this time.

The role of the hospital chaplain
Chaplains are trained counselors who work as part of your healthcare team. They understand that your spiritual and emotional well-being play an important part in your overall health. The chaplain will respect your own faith and will not impose his or her beliefs or religious practices. When you or your family have spiritual concerns or worries, desire the sacraments of your faith, or just need someone to talk to or pray with, feel free to ask your doctor or nurse for the chaplain.

How to request a chaplain
To request pastoral services during the day, you may call directly from your room by dialing extension 4269. On evenings, nights and weekends, ask your nurse to page the chaplain on-call. If you desire a visit from a clergy member of a particular faith or from your own pastor, priest or rabbi, the Pastoral Care Department will assist you in contacting them.

Pastoral counseling
Chaplains are available for pastoral counseling. You or your family may make an appointment in person or by calling Pastoral Care at extension 4269.

Spiritual care and relaxation
Spiritually supportive programming can be found on channel 48 on Allegheny General’s television system.

Special services

  • Protestant—Chaplains offer spiritual comfort, counsel and prayer at your request. You may also request communion, anointing or emergency baptism.
  • Catholic—Eucharistic ministers visit regularly, offering communion to patients. A Roman Catholic priest is available to offer spiritual comfort and counseling, as well as the sacraments of the sick (anointing) and reconciliation (confession) upon request.
  • Jewish—Prayer books, shawls and yarmulkes are available in Weisbrod Memorial Chapel. Electric Sabbath candles may be borrowed.
  • Other faith traditions—Pastoral Care staff will help patients contact community resources of their own faith when possible upon request.

Weisbrod Memorial Chapel
Our chapel is located on the first floor of Snyder Pavilion near the information desk. It is open at all times for prayer and meditation to people of all faiths. Prayer requests may be written in a book in the front of the chapel. Prayer requests also may be called in to Pastoral Care; these will be acknowledged during worship services.

Worship service schedule
Please consult the bulletin board posted outside the chapel for the worship service schedule. Congregations in the area also welcome visitors. A list of places of worship, times of services and directions is available at the information desk in the lobby.

Religious literature
If you would like a Bible, rosaries or religious and inspirational literature, please stop by the Weisbrod Memorial Chapel or call the Pastoral Care office at extension 4269. All material on display is free of charge. Tune into channel 14, the Spirituality and Relaxation Channel on the hospital television, for spiritually supportive programming.

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Patient Access Services

The admission process is an important part of your hospitalization at Allegheny General Hospital. Through it, we gather vital information for your medical records and your insurance carrier. We also ask about your carrier’s second surgical opinion or precertification requirements. We then can help you meet those requirements. If your insurance carrier requires precertification, you should call your carrier before admission or within 24 hours of an emergency admission to avoid a financial penalty. After we obtain your insurance information, we verify coverage with your insurance carrier.

Part of Allegheny General’s mission is to provide necessary healthcare services, regardless of an individual’s ability to pay. Our financial counselors are prepared to help you if you are experiencing financial difficulty. They will attempt to identify any charges that may not be covered by your insurance carrier and arrange an appropriate payment schedule for you. If you do not have insurance or your coverage is limited, our financial counselors can identify other programs that may assist you. (Please refer to the section titled “Account Assistance Program.")

If your hospital admission was scheduled in advance, an admissions representative may already have your insurance information. If your hospital admission was not scheduled in advance, it will be necessary for us to review your demographic and insurance information at the time of admission or as soon thereafter as possible.

If you have not spoken with an admissions representative, please call Patient Access Services at 412.359.6477. Our representatives will be able to answer any questions regarding your insurance coverage.

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Patient Education

Educational materials about a variety of diagnoses, procedures and treatments are available to patients and families. Ask your nurse or physician if there is information available that describes your particular medical condition, diagnosis, treatment or procedure.

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Patient Representative

A patient representative helps patients seek solutions to problems, identify concerns and address unmet needs. Shortly after admission, a patient representative may visit you. If you have any questions, problems or unmet needs, ask a staff member for help or call your patient representative at 412.359.3233, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

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Patient Requests for Test Results

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has determined that patients have a right to access their laboratory test results. Allegheny General Hospital Laboratory prefers that patients call their physician to obtain their test results so that the patient and physician have an opportunity to discuss the results.

Patients may, however, request their test results by calling Client Services at 412.359.3542. Patients will be asked to sign an authorization for release of protected health information, and laboratory policy may restrict the handling of certain tests. Laboratory staff will refer the patient to his or her physician for an interpretation of the test results.

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Patient Safety

Allegheny General Hospital is committed to creating and maintaining a safe environment of care for our patients, visitors and staff.

An effective environment of care is created when all staff members:

  • identify, reduce and control environmental hazards and risks
  • prevent accidents and injuries
  • maintain and improve safe conditions

Everyone is encouraged to take an active part in the environment of care. One of the most important aspects of creating this environment is infection prevention, with hand washing/hand hygiene being the most important step to prevent the spread of infection. Everyone, including hospital staff and visitors, should perform hand hygiene either by using hand sanitizer or soap and warm water before entering and after exiting any patient room.

If you identify any unsafe condition or if you have any safety concern, please inform any member of your clinical care team, including your physician, the registered nurse who is providing your care, the nursing manager on your unit or any ancillary staff members. A patient representative is also available to discuss your concerns and can be reached by dialing extension 3233 from your hospital room.

You may also fill out a Patient Safety Suggestion Form from the suggestion boxes located at the nurses' stations throughout the hospital. AGH's Patient Safety Committee will review and address these suggestions. You may make your suggestion anonymously, but we encourage you to leave your name and telephone number so that somebody can contact you if your concern needs to be clarified. We always appreciate patients taking the time to inform us of any potential safety issues.

If you are unsure whether the concern you have is a safety issue, you are still encouraged to report it. Your involvement in the environment of care will help to make Allegheny General Hospital a safer place for everyone.

“Be Involved” Poster
In your room or in the waiting areas, you will see a poster that encourages you to “Be Involved” in your care. To help improve patient safety, patients are urged to BE INVOLVED! Everyone — physicians, healthcare workers, nurses and technicians — have a role in making healthcare safe. AGH joins organizations across the country in working to make patient safety a priority. You, as a patient, can also play a vital role in making your care safe by becoming an active, involved and informed member of your healthcare team.

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Personal Items

The hospital does not assume responsibility for loss of personal items, including clothing, lost or damaged dentures, eyeglasses or hearing aids. Unnecessary items should be left at home.

If you wear eyeglasses or a hearing aid, please store the item in a drawer when you are not using it. Dentures should be stored in the denture cup (with your name clearly written on the cup) provided and not in a Styrofoam drinking cup or on your meal tray, where they may be accidentally thrown away. Please ask your nurse for a denture cup if one is not given to you.

During your hospital stay, please send jewelry, credit cards, keys, medications and other valuables home. We recommend you keep no more than $5 for items you may purchase during your stay. If you cannot send your valuables home, you should request to have Security pick them up and secure them. If you forget to deposit your valuables, a nurse can help arrange the deposit and obtain the receipt for you. You must have that receipt when reclaiming your valuables. You may retrieve your valuables at any time during your stay. Upon discharge, you may request that your valuables be returned by Security to your room, or you can pick them up. The hospital is not responsible for valuables that you do not have deposited.

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Pharmacy

During your hospital stay, nurses will administer medications ordered by your physician. Any medications you bring with you must be shown to the nurse. Such medications must be identified and listed on your chart for the physician’s information. You may be asked to send the medications home with a family member or store them in the Pharmacy. Medications can be picked up at the Pharmacy upon discharge. The hospital’s Pharmacy does not fill prescriptions after a patient is discharged; any prescriptions you take home should be filled by your pharmacist.

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Private-Duty Nurses

You, your physician or your family may request the services of a private-duty registered nurse, licensed practical nurse or nurse aide. The request should be directed to a nurse on your floor, who will submit a written request to the staffing office. The agency that supplies the private-duty nurse will contact you or your family after the request is received. The request will be honored if a nurse is available. Patients or their families are responsible for paying for the services of a private-duty nurse. Arrangements for payments are made in advance.

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Private Rooms

There are a limited number of private rooms at Allegheny General. Priority of private-room assignments is by medical necessity. A patient may receive a private room if one is available after physicians’ requests have been fulfilled. If so, an additional daily charge is incurred. Private rooms are assigned on the scheduled date of admission and cannot be held for a patient before that date.

If you request and are assigned to a private room, a family member will need to pay an advance deposit on admission. If a private room is not available, your name will be placed on a waiting list. You will then be moved if a private room becomes available. To request a private room, please call Patient Placement at 412.359.6565.

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Rehabilitation Services

Allegheny General Hospital Rehabilitation Services provides comprehensive physical, occupational and speech therapy services both on an inpatient and outpatient basis. Upon physician referral, our skilled professionals will provide comprehensive examination and treatment. Your individualized inpatient treatment program will maximize your function throughout your stay. After discharge, if additional outpatient rehabilitation services are necessary, we offer the following convenient locations:

Pittsburgh’s North Side

Federal North, Federal Street*
412.359.4646

Allegheny General Hospital*
412.359.3036

North

Sports Medicine Services, Gibsonia
724.443.4080

Sports Medicine Services, Cranberry*
724.772.4740

Human Motion Center, Wexford
724.934.2499

South

Sports Medicine Services, Bethel Park*
412.833.7910

Human Motion Center, Southpointe*
724.743.4000

Human Motion Rehab, Century III*
412.655.6449

East

Orthopedic Rehab Services, Monroeville
412.856.0874

*Occupational therapy services offered at these locations.

If you need additional assistance, please call 1.877.660.6777, and our staff will be glad to help you.

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Smoking Policy

As part of its mission, Allegheny General is committed to promoting the general health and well-being of current and future generations of the communities it serves. And as a leading health-care provider, Allegheny General recognizes the serious health risks associated with smoking and secondhand smoke.

Allegheny General has instituted a policy that prohibits patients and visitors, as well as employees, medical and house staffs and volunteers, from smoking throughout the hospital campus. Consequently, smoking is prohibited in all patient rooms. Smoking is only permitted in these designated outdoor smoking areas:

  • In the courtyard seating area outside the Cafeteria
  • Outside the rear entrance to the Allegheny Professional Building

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Social Work Services

The services of professionally trained medical social workers are available to all patients and their families for crisis intervention, protective services, counseling and assistance with discharge needs.

Social workers can help you with problems that may arise during hospitalization. Social workers also can provide you with information about community programs and services. If you would like to speak to a social worker, ask a nurse on your floor to arrange a meeting or call the Social Work Services Department at 412.359.4765. There is a Social Worker in the hospital 24 hours a day.

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Ask Us About Sunrise!

In March 2005, Allegheny Health Network entered a new era when it signed a multi-year, multi-million dollar contract with the Eclipsys Corporation to implement an electronic medical record system. The electronic medical record enables clinicians to make the best possible decisions for patients across the continuum of care, on a single, integrated technology platform.

Great care was taken in choosing a tool that would better coordinate the complexities of care throughout WPAHS. Prior to signing a contract with Eclipsys, WPAHS spent a year comparing different software systems on the market. When it came time to select a product, WPAHS overwhelmingly chose Eclipsys’ Clinical Manager system.

WPAHS selected the name Sunrise to represent the beginning of a new technological era. Sunrise is actually a combination of multiple interdisciplinary functions including Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE), Nursing and Physician Documentation, Pharmacy Medication System and Emergency Department Tracking System. Eclipsys was chosen because it could effectively integrate all these applications into one database.

Sunrise helps clinicians locate patient information much faster, including the care a particular patient has already received, as well as the care clinicians intend to provide to the patient. The software serves as an enabler for clinicians by allowing them to focus more on patients and less on process. This can be accomplished because information is instantly available, and regardless of where physicians are working, they will be able to gain immediate access to patient health records. As a result, clinicians can share information seamlessly and complete patient hand-offs with greater efficiency and accuracy.

In addition, Sunrise offers another important feature – patient safety monitoring – via the product’s ability to facilitate patient care in conjunction with the Joint Commission, Department of Health and National Patient Safety Standards. The product supports patient safety goals related to medication errors while also ensuring that the right dose of medication is provided to the right patient at the right time.

Key Benefits of Sunrise Clinical Manager

  • Provides secure, role-definable access to patient data from any location (local or remote).
  • Optimizes patient care and reduces costs without changing clinical intent. Ultimate decision-making is always controlled by the clinician.
  • Improves accuracy and precision of clinical decision-making based on streamlined data review, with customizable displays of all data and pointers to information in other enterprise databases.
  • Enables real-time clinical decision support to realize quality improvement, using the full range of data in the clinical record.
  • Enables creation of rules and alerts based on local priorities.
  • Minimizes wasted paperwork by supporting clinical pathways integrated with order entry, such as nursing worklists generated from the order-entry process.

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Telegrams

Western Union can be dialed directly at 1.800.CALL.CASH. Charges will be billed to your home.

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Telephone/Television

At Allegheny General, charges for telephone and television use will be billed directly to your home telephone bill through Enhanced Billing Solutions (EBS).

This charge will show on your home telephone bill as “HOSP PHONE.” The amount will be $7 per day, with a maximum of $49 per hospital stay, plus any applicable state and federal taxes. If you are readmitted to the hospital within 15 days of discharge, you will not be charged for telephone or television usage during that subsequent stay.

If you do not wish to use the telephone and television during your stay, or have any questions regarding the service or billing, please call EBS Customer Service toll-free at 1.800.767.8138, weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. So as to not disturb resting patients, incoming telephone calls are limited to certain hours. For patient calls received after 10 p.m., the following message will be heard: “Out of courtesy to our patients who are recuperating and resting, AGH does not connect telephone calls to patient rooms after 10 p.m. Please call back between the hours of 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. Thank you for your consideration.”

To call departments within the hospital, dial only the last four numbers. For television repair, please call 412.359.8400.

Dialing Instructions

  • Local calls: There is no additional cost for local calls (any calls in the 412, 724 and 878 area codes). To dial a local call, dial 9 + Area Code + seven digit number.
  • Toll-free calls: There is no additional cost for toll-free calls (to area codes 800, 877, 866 and 855). To dial a toll-free call, dial 9 + 1 + toll-free number.
  • Long distance and all other calls: Appropriate charges will apply to these calls. Before placing your call, determine the method of payment (collect call, credit card call or bill to home telephone number). Please have the necessary payment information in front of you so you can input it or give it to an operator, if needed.
  • To dial a local toll or long distance call, dial 9 + 1 + Area Code + seven digit number. You will be connected to an automated attendant and given the option to enter the information yourself or speak with an operator who will assist you.

Cell phones
Personal cell phone usage is not permitted in patient rooms. Cell phone usage is also not permitted by patients and visitors in other areas of the hospital where notices are posted.

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Vaccines

If you would like to receive the pneumonia vaccine or the flu vaccine, ask your doctor about getting these before you are discharged from the hospital.

You may not need the pneumonia vaccine if you have received it in the past. Your doctor can help you determine if you need this vaccine. The flu shot should be received each year during the flu season.

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Visiting Hours

Allegheny Campus

General Medical/Surgical
11C, 10C, 9A, 6A, 6C, 5A, 5C, 9C
1 to 8:30 p.m.
11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Labor and Delivery
12A
Visitors are required to obtain an ID badge on the first floor to gain entry. Siblings must be accompanied and supervised by an adult. Limited (two visitors at a time).

Maternity
12C
Visitors are required to obtain an ID badge on the first floor to gain entry.
Father - Unlimited
Grandparents and Siblings - 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
(children must be accompanied and supervised by an adult)
General visiting hours - 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Neuro/Surgical ICU
3rd floor
Immediate family only
10:30 to 11 a.m.
1:30 to 2 p.m.
5 to 5:30 p.m.
8 to 8:30 p.m.

Guidelines for NICU visitors:

  • Adhere to posted visiting times to help ensure that the patient gets the rest and care they need.
  • Visit quietly.
  • Do not excite the patient.
  • Have only two immediate family members visit at a time.
  • Do not bring children under age 14 into the unit.
  • Family and friends may send cards and letters while the patient is in the unit, but please reserve flowers, balloons, and other gifts until the patient is transferred to a regular floor room.
  • Inform the nursing staff of the patient’s food preferences, nicknames, and other pertinent information.

Trauma/Surgical Unit
3NWW
Immediate family only
10 to 10:30 a.m.
2 to 2:30 p.m.
5 to 5:30 p.m.
8 to 8:30 p.m.

Cardiac Care Stepdown
8A/8C
Immediate family only
1 to 8:30 p.m.

Surgical ICU
3rd Floor Cardiothoracic Surgery
Immediate family only
10 to 10:30 a.m.
2 to 2:30 p.m.
8 to 8:30 p.m.

Family members are permitted to visit immediately after surgery or admission for five minutes.

The nurse or volunteer will call you in to visit from the waiting room at the designated times. Three visitors are permitted at the bedside at one time and immediate family members may alternate throughout the visitation period. Visitation may be adjusted to meet the needs of the patient/family/ nursing staff. The initial post-operative visit may be limited. To avoid interrupting patient care, the family should identify a spokesperson who will primarily obtain updates regarding the patient’s condition and provide the information to all others who are concerned. The spokesperson may call at anytime for updates on the patient’s condition. We recommend that calls be limited during nursing report times which are as follows: 6:30 to 7:30 a.m.; 3 to 3:30 p.m.; 7 to 7:30 p.m.; 11 to 11:30 p.m.

Coronary Care Unit
Fifth Floor
Immediate family only
8:15 to 8:30 a.m.
11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
2 to 2:30 p.m.
5 to 6 p.m.
8 to 8:30 p.m.

Medical ICU
Fourth Floor
Immediate family only
8:15 to 8:30 a.m.
11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
2 to 2:30 p.m.
5 to 6 p.m.
8 to 8:30 p.m.

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Volunteers

Volunteers have been an integral part of Allegheny General Hospital since the hospital first opened its doors. Today, volunteers serve in many areas of the hospital and provide special personal services for patients and their families, such as delivering mail, escorting patients, visiting with patients, manning the information desk and supporting families in waiting areas. Volunteers at the Allegheny Campus can be identified by their royal blue jackets and jerseys.

Throughout the year, high school and college students serve as junior and student volunteers. If you or someone you know are interested in becoming a volunteer, call the Volunteer Office at 412.359.3067.

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Waiting Room Guidelines

Families waiting for patients in surgery

  • The surgeon will come to the Waiting Room to speak with the family after the surgery. Please remain in the Waiting Room until the physician arrives.
  • Cardiac patients will be transported directly to the Surgical Intensive Care Unit (SICU) and not to the Recovery Room. The family will be able to visit the patient in about one to one-and-a-half hours. The nurse will come to or call the Waiting Room for the family. Cardiac surgeries generally last between four to six hours, but it may take longer.
  • Families waiting for outpatients should return to the 11th floor Snyder Pavilion to wait after meeting with the physician.

Families visiting patients in the Intensive Care Units

  • SICU (Surgical Intensive Care Unit): Call back to extension 3427 to make sure the patient is ready for visit.
  • NICU (Neurosurgical Intensive Care Unit): Call back to extension 3910 to make sure the patient is ready for visit.
  • Please remember to wash your hands before going to the bedside.

General guidelines

  • Cell phones may be used in the Waiting Room, however they must be turned off while visiting patients inside the Intensive Care Unit.
  • When you leave the waiting area, please use the sign-out board on the side wall. Please write the patient’s last name and your destination (example: Jones – Cafeteria, Brown – Gift Shop).
  • Please return trays, silverware and dishes to the cafeteria on the second floor.
  • Please dispose of beverage bottles/cans, etc. in containers provided in the Waiting Room.
  • Please have family members and friends call you at the phone located in the back of the Waiting Room (412.359.6680). Please do not tie up the desk phone with incoming personal calls.

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