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Healthy Focus Magazine

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Allegheny Valley Hospital
1301 Carlisle St
Natrona Heights, PA 15065
724.224.5100

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Allegheny Valley Hospital

Patient Care Services

Welcome to Allegheny Valley Hospital (AVH), part of Allegheny Health System. Whether this is your first visit or a subsequent visit to our hospital, we appreciate your confidence in choosing our professionals and services to meet your healthcare needs.

AVH is where your comfort and care are our top priorities. Additionally, our goal is to make sure you are completely satisfied with the care received from the moment you arrive until the time you leave. At AVH, the patient is the focus of everything we do.

Before you leave, you will receive written instructions about caring for yourself at home, any medications you need and any follow-up care that you may require. If you do not fully understand those instructions, please talk with your nurse or doctor. We want you to have all the information you need prior to leaving the hospital.

After returning home, you may receive a survey asking you to rate our performance during your stay. Your comments help us to continually improve on the care we provide.

Again, we would like to welcome you to Allegheny Valley Hospital and extend our best wishes to you and your family.

 

During Your Stay

Identification

The plastic identification name band placed on your wrist at the time of admission is for your protection. Please be sure to wear it throughout your hospital stay. It helps to identify you for tests and procedures that have been scheduled for you.

Our staff and physicians wear a badge that identifies them by name, profession and department. Additionally, they will identify themselves and explain the care will provide. To facilitate care further, all staff should ask your name, birth date and check your wristband for verification prior to giving you medications, drawing or giving blood or doing any procedure.

Know Your Medicine

It is important that your doctor, other healthcare providers and your family know about the medicines you take and any allergies you have. Medication errors can lead to serious complications and even death. Medication errors occur at "transition" points such as when the patient enters the hospital, transfers from one room to another or is discharged. Here are some ways to prevent medication errors at these transition points:

  • Bring a list of all medicines you take including all prescriptions, vitamins, over-the-counter medicines, dietary and herbal supplements. Be sure to include the name, dose, the way you take the medicine, when and how often you take it.
  • Keep a list of all allergies to medications or food and what happens if you take them (rash, hives, trouble breathing).
  • Change the information on your medication list each time you start or stop taking a medication.
  • Ask for the name of all medicines you are taking in the hospital.
  • Ask your nurse, doctor or pharmacist to review your list of medications and make any needed changes.
  • Ask questions about any medicines you don’t understand and are receiving; don’t seem right, or are in some way different from what you take at home.
  • Ask for a Medicine Information Sheet for the medicines that you are taking.
     

Personal Articles

Please advise a member of the nursing staff any time a family member or friend takes home personal articles such as clothing, jewelry, dentures, etc.

Lost and Found

The Security Department operates a lost-and-found service. If an item is missing during your stay or after being discharged, please call 724.226.7374.

Mail and Flowers

Your mail and flowers are delivered to your room daily. Mail is forwarded to your home address when you leave the hospital. Outgoing mail should be given to your nurse or left at the nurse’s station. There is a stamp machine in the main lobby. Live flowers are not permitted in the Intensive Care, Coronary Care, Progressive Care or any monitored unit.

Fire Drill

Fire drills for hospital personnel are conducted on a regular basis as part of the hospital’s safety program. Do not be alarmed if you hear a fire alert announced over the public address system. Patients are not moved as part of the drill.

Electrical Items

You are permitted to use personal electrical items such as electric razors, hair dryers, and curling irons, but they must be visually inspected by the Engineering Department to ensure they are safe. Please immediately report any faulty equipment in your room to your nurse.

Hospitality Cart

Member’s of the hospital’s Auxiliary bring a hospitality cart through patient areas. You may purchase magazines, paperback books, snacks, etc. Visitors may also make purchases for you at the Gift and Coffee Shop in the main lobby.

Pain Management

Pain or discomfort is your body’s alarm system telling you something is wrong. When you experience pain, would you be able to describe it and communicate that feeling so your caregivers will understand? Your report of pain is the most important factor to consider. Don’t hesitate to talk about your pain. You have the right to seek relief. To help you, your caregiver may ask you about your pain - where it is, is it sharp, dull, throbbing, steady, what makes it feel better or worse, what you have taken in the past to get relief. You will also be asked to rate your pain with the use of our pain scale, which uses numbers, words and pictures.

Telephones

Cell phone use
Cell phones are permitted in the main lobby, the cafeteria, the Gift and Coffee Shop and outside the hospital. Otherwise, cellular phones are to be completely turned off, as they will continue to send and receive ambient signals that can negatively affect medical equipment even though they are not in use. If you need assistance in locating pay phones, please ask at the nurse’s station.

Patient telephones
Your room is equipped with a telephone. The following information will help you in its use:

Direct calls from outside
Anyone calling your room may dial the room directly by dialing 724.226 and the four digit extension which will be displayed on your phone in your room. Please notify family members and friends of your phone number. Your number will not follow you should be transferred to another room, so we ask that you let your family and friends know of the change in numbers. The switchboard operators are available at 724.224.5100 or 724.334.2562 for assistance. Because quiet time is scheduled between the hours of 10 p.m. and 8 a.m., patients' phone calls are discouraged. The hospital operators are not permitted to ring patient room between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. All calls through the operator during these times will be directed to the appropriate nursing station.

Local calls
Dial 9, the area code and the 7-digit number make calls to 412, 724, or 878 area codes. Local calls are free of charge.

Long distance
All other calls are made by first dialing 8, and then dial 0. The telephone operator will come on the line to give you assistance and billing instructions. Calls must be billed to your home telephone number, credit card, or placed collect.

Toll-free number
Toll-free numbers: 800, 877 or 888 can be dialed from patient rooms by first dialing 9, then 1, followed by the number.

Call within the hospital
Dial the four-digit number provided to make a call within the hospital. If you are having any problems with your phone, please notify your nurse or dial 0 for operator assistance. Please do not unplug or move telephones.

Smoking

The hospital recognizes its responsibility to promote a safe and healthy environment and to actively demonstrate its commitment to the promotion of health and the prevention of disease. AVH has joined hospitals across the country in implementing this policy, which is a requirement of the Joint Commission of the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. The policy applies to all physicians, employees, patients and visitors. Patients who are hospitalized will not be permitted to smoke. Outpatients will not be permitted to smoke within the hospital. Smoking is only 2 in designed areas.

Exception will be given to:

  • Hospitalized patients classified as being not responsible for their own actions and who chose to smoke under close supervision.
  • Patients hospitalized on the mental health unit, whose physicians have written orders permitting them to use smokeless tobacco.
     

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. Please advise a floor nurse or your 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. Meals are served at the following times:

Breakfast 7:30 to 8:30 a.m.
Lunch 11:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Dinner 4:15 to 5:30 p.m.

*Late trays are available if you missed the regular tray delivery.

Consult with a nurse from your unit before eating food brought to you from outside the hospital, as some foods may conflict with your diet or medications.

The Food and Nutrition Services Department offers guest trays on a daily basis if you would like to dine with a friend or relative. Guest trays can be purchased by notifying any nurse on your unit. The tray will be delivered along with the patient’s meal.

Registered dietitians are assigned to the nursing units and are available for nutrition consultation and diet education. Please inform your physician or nurse if you would like to meet with the dietitian.

Television Service

AVH is pleased to offer patients the option of having television service for a daily fee. You will receive access to over 65 cable television channels. For your convenience, you do not need to pay for these services while you are in the hospital. Fees will be placed on your monthly home telephone bill as: "billed on behalf of PATHWAY SOLUTIONS" on the ESBI bill page of your home telephone bill. If you elect to have changes placed on your home telephone bill you must be 18 years or older and duly authorized by the account owner to make and/or incur charges on the telephone account number provided to the hospital. Fees will be placed on your monthly home telephone bill.

The television is ready for your use. Please call ext. 3999 if you elect not to use or authorize billing for these services, choose to cancel the service, if you have any questions or would like to make other payment arrangements (i.e. VISA, Mastercard, Discover, etc.). "PATHWAY SOLUTIONS" can be reached at ext. 3999 or 1.888.891.6523 or correspondence can be addressed to them at 3840 East Robinson Road, Suite 140, Amherst, NY 14228.

Pastoral Care

If you wish to have your church or minister/rabbi notified of your admission, please inform the nursing staff of your desire, and they will be happy to do so.

During the admission/registration process, the hospital does ask your consent to notify your church. However, if you were not asked or have changed your mind after you were admitted, please notify a nurse on your unit.

Volunteer Chaplains

Volunteer chaplains are available if you wish to be visited during your stay. Please notify the nursing staff. During the admission/registration process, the hospital asks if you wish to be on the chaplain visit list. If you were not asked or changed your mind, please notify your nurse.

Meditation Room

A meditation room, located in the front lobby next to the Information Desk, is available for patient and visitor use.

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. See our website at for additional patient education topics.

Financial Arrangements

Charges for your AVH 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.

AVH 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 Patient Financial Services at 724.226.7073.

In addition to hospital services, you will receive services from physicians during your stay at AVH. These physicians will bill you or your insurance carrier separately for services provided. These services include Emergency Department physician care, anesthesia, respiratory care, electrocardiogram (EKG), electroencephalogram (EEG), ear, nose, and throat, laboratory test, pulmonary functions, rehabilitations services, radiology, and radiation therapy. Questions concerning any of the physicians billing should be directed to the doctors of their offices.

If you have any questions concerning your insurance or Medicare coverage, contact the hospital’s Insurance Department extension 7073. If you do not have insurance coverage and would like to discuss your qualifications for Medical Assistance, make payment arrangements for your account or apply for Charity Care, you may contact the Financial Counselor at extension 7478.

Length of Stay

Utilization review is a process designed to promote the effective and efficient delivery of hospital care. Because health insurance only pays for days of hospitalization considered to be medically necessary, your hospital care is monitored by a Utilization Review Committee comprised of physicians, a Clinical Resource Management nurse and other healthcare professionals.

The utilization review process applies to Medicare and Medicaid patients by federal law and to all other patients by contracts with third party insurers. The federal law and private contracts establish the procedures for notifications of patients and the patients’ responsibilities when their conditions no longer require acute hospital care. The AVH Medical Staff has elected to have its Utilization Review Committee assume responsibility for conducting the review process. If you have questions concerning utilization review, please contract the Clinical Resource Management Department at extension 7363.

Safety and Security

Patient Falls
While you are in our care, your safety is a priority. Medications, unfamiliar surroundings, tests or surgery may make you feel weak or unsteady on your feet. In order to minimize the possibility of an unexpected fall, remember to call for assistance when getting out of bed or going to the bathroom.

Restraints
Although our goal is a restraint-free environment, patient safety is a priority. Therefore there may be times when it is necessary, as a last resort, to use restraints. In all situations the least restrictive device that assures patient safety will be used. The nursing staff will make every effort to notify the family.

Security Video
The Security Department requests that you take a few minutes to view the Patient Security Orientation video or channel 74 shown throughout the day at various times. The video describes many of the services provided to patients.

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 of the patient becomes unable to participate in decisions. 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, we will 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 his or her 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, including artificial nutrition and hydration, the person wants as well as those he or she does not want and under what circumstances treatment should be withheld.

What is the physician’s involvement in developing an advance directive?
Because the physician will carry out the patient’s wishes regarding medical care, he or she should be involved in helping the patient develop an advance directive. With his or her medical knowledge and understanding of the patient’s wishes, the physician can provide advice and information and also explain the risks and benefits of different treatment.

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 him or her make treatment recommendations and decisions in a manner consistent with the patient’s wishes.

If a patient is critically ill and cannot participate in decisions regarding his or her medical care, how does the family know what treatment he or she 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 physician 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 risk benefits and likely outcome of the treatment.

What is CORE?

The Center for Organ Recovery & Education (CORE) is the not-for-profit agency that manages the organ and tissue donor program for western Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Chemung County, New York. In partnership with 155 hospitals in our region, CORE serves as the link between those who donate and patients awaiting organs, tissue and corneas for transplantation.

In addition to offering families the opportunity to donate, CORE coordinates the surgical recovery efforts, computerized matching and placement of organs, tissue and corneas.

CORE is devoted to heightening public understanding and education about organ and tissue donation. Through Partnering for Life, its workplace initiative, CORE aims to share the importance of donation with companies in the region.

For more information, call 1.800.DONORS.7 or ask your nurse.

Your Discharge

Am I Ready to Go Home?
Your physician will decide when you are to be discharged and will inform the nursing staff so plans can be made for your discharge. Before leaving the hospital you should:

  • Obtain prescriptions and instructions about diet, medications, activities and follow-up visits from your physician.
  • Double check your discharge plan and ask questions about any plans that are unclear.
  • Check your room to be sure you do not leave personal items behind.
  • The person taking you home should park in the parking garage.
  • Parking is free on the day of discharge. The nurse will give your driver a free parking pass for exiting the garage.
  • An escort will transport you by wheelchair to the hospital’s entrance and wait with you until your driver arrives.
     

Home Care

Your physician may determine that after you return home, you will need professional healthcare services in order to continue your recovery. A list of home health agencies will be provided to you, so you may select an agency of choice.

Additionally, AVH offers home care services. With the availability of this service, patients requiring skilled health services may be visited in the privacy of their homes by registered nurses, physical therapists, speech therapist, medical social workers and other healthcare professionals.

If you are interested in home care services, ask your physician if you qualify or call our Central Intake Office at 724.226.7482.

Home Health Services

Temporary and ongoing home healthcare is available to patients of all ages. Professionals provide skilled nursing care, home health aide services, physical, occupational and speech therapies, social work and nutritional counseling. If necessary, your physician will establish an individualized treatment plan to be followed by the home health professionals.

Arrangements for home care can be made with the hospital’s home care coordinator before you leave the hospital, if ordered by your physician. For additional information, call extension 7363.

Hospital equipment, medical supplies and extended care personnel such as homemakers are also at your request.

Hospice Service

Forbes Hospice, as part of Allegheny Health System, 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.

About Your Inpatient Bill and Insurance Coverage

In order for our hospital to continue providing services, we must receive compensation for services rendered. Your hospital bill includes charges for your room, linen services, nursing care and meals as well as certain other goods and services ordered by your physician.

After you are discharged, the hospital will submit your bill to your insurance company if you have insurance through an employer or the state. If you do not have insurance, your bill will then become your responsibility. Additional payment options may be available if you meet program criteria or guidelines for financial assistance.

Hospital services not covered by your insurance will be billed to you. If you have any questions about your hospital bill, please call the patient accounting department, 724.226.7073. If you have questions about financial assistance, please call the credit department 724.226.7054.

Patient questionnaire

At AVH we value your opinion. A few weeks after your discharge, you will receive a patient questionnaire at home. Please take a few minutes to complete the survey providing us with your perception of the care you received. Your responses will help us to improve upon the care we provide to our patients.

Charity Care Program

As a fundamental part of its mission, Allegheny Health System is committed to providing treatment to anyone who turns to it for needed care, regardless of their ability to pay.

In this context, the system and its hospitals recognize the challenges faced by the increasing numbers of uninsured patients in the region. To assist these patients, WPAHS has in place programs and policies to ease the financial burdens for the uninsured.

Should you have any questions regarding our policies and payment plans, please contact a Customer Service Representative at the hospital related to your care.

For more information, please click on the following:

Uninsured Discount Summary
Charity Care Under the Account Assistance Program

 

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