During Your Stay
Your Admission Appointment
Once your physician determines that you need hospitalization, he/she will arrange for your admission to Howard University Hospital.
If you are a scheduled admission, on the day of your admission a representative will call regarding your room availability and your arrival time. When you arrive, please go directly to the Admissions Office, located on the first floor.
An admissions representative will ask questions regarding your insurance and medical history. You will be required to present an insurance identification card and one form of picture identification such as a driver’s license. The admitting clerk will also ask for any referral or authorization forms you may have been asked to bring. If you come to the hospital in an emergency, please have a family member come to the Admissions Office with your insurance card.
Upon admission, an identification band or bands that you will need to wear during your hospitalization will be placed on your arm by your nurse. This band enables the staff to coordinate the services you receive. Please wear these bands at all times. If you have allergies to any substance, such as food, medicine or latex, a red band will be placed on your wrist.
Advance directives, in the form of a living will or durable power of attorney for health care, enable patients to give instructions regarding the treatment they would prefer if seriously ill. If you have a living will or durable power of attorney for health care, you must give a copy to your nurse. The document will be included with your chart. If you did not receive information on advance directives at the time of admission, please tell your nurse or doctor.
Your Health Care Team
Howard University Hospital is a “University-Teaching Hospital,” training tomorrow’s physicians. Your physician is responsible for your care while you are at the hospital, however residents (doctors in training) may accompany him/her in your room. You have the right to refuse treatment by anyone other than your physician present.
In addition to your physician, your health team includes:
Housestaff physicians are doctors who have graduated from medical school and have come to Howard University for advanced training in a particular medical specialty. Housestaff physicians work under the close guidance of your doctor to provide you with 24-hour care.
You will receive 24-hour nursing care from a team of registered nurses. A nurse manager is responsible for directing and coordinating the nursing care on your floor.
These experts prepare medications and monitor you to avoid side effects, allergies and possible interactions with drugs and food.
Registered and certified respiratory therapists work together with a multidisciplinary team to evaluate, treat and care for patients with breathing disorders.
Their job is to offer counseling, emotional support and information to meet your psychological and practical needs. Social workers will also assist you with discharge planning or obtaining post hospital services.
Utilization Review/Case Managers
Their job is to work with the nursing team, your primary care physician and your insurance company to coordinate your care.
Registered dietitians work with the doctors and nurses to ensure that you receive proper nutrition during your stay.
These representatives make sure that your comments and concerns are heard.
Working in various departments, volunteers distribute reading materials and visit patients.
After completing the admission process, you will be assigned a room. Your room assignment is based on your admitting diagnosis and bed availability on the day of your admission. Nursing staff will orient you to the features in your room.
You may request a private room, if one is available, at an additional cost. This extra cost is not covered by health insurance plans; you will be responsible for paying the difference at the time of discharge.
Your bed adjusts to different positions and is equipped with side rails for your protection. Please do not try to get out of bed by yourself when the rails are raised. The nursing staff will be glad to assist you.
How to Call for Assistance
For your safety and convenience, there is a call light located at your bedside and a call button in your bathroom. Please make sure that your call bell is always within your reach. A two-way intercom also enables you to talk directly with the nurse’s station.
While you’re in the hospital, please inform your doctor of any medication you are taking, including: prescription medicines, over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbal products and health food store products. Your physicians and the nursing staff will inform you when or when not to take medications or supplements.
Leaving Your Room and Floor
If you want to leave the room and floor, you must obtain written permission from the nursing staff on your patient care unit. Patients must be attired in a manner appropriate for a public area.
Eating the right foods to maintain good nutritional health during your illness is an important part of your medical treatment that may help you to recovery more quickly.
To provide you with the best nutritional care possible, dietitians work very closely with your doctor to determine which diet is best for you.
Once the doctor has ordered your diet, starting with your first breakfast tray, you will receive a menu daily, from which you may select the food items you prefer for the next day’s meals. Food items on the menu provided are prepared according to your doctor’s orders.
After marking your menu, please do not put it on your tray. A food services representative will visit you around 10:00 a.m. daily, to pick up your marked menu. If you choose not to mark your menu, please let the representative know of your food allergies or dislikes and he/she will mark your menu for you.
It is important that you not eat any foods or snacks that are brought into the hospital from outside, especially if you are on a special diet. Also, please do not take any herbal supplements, vitamins or other food products without first obtaining permission from your doctor, nurse or dietitian. Some of these products may interfere with your tests or treatments.
Occasionally, your meal(s) may be delayed if you are scheduled for a special test or treatment. When authorized by your physician, you will receive your meal after the procedure is completed.
Please contact your nurse for assistance if you have questions about your meals, have special requests or need to see a food services manager or dietitian.
You have a right to pain relief. Your nurse will ask you about your pain regularly or as indicated. Tell the nurse and/or doctor if your pain is not being relieved.
To protect our patients and visitors from infection, we follow the recommended policies of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and District of Columbia Department of Health. All staff members follow standard precautions to prevent the spread of infections.
Members of our health care team who handle your blood or body fluids should wear gloves. In addition, please make sure that anyone who touches you has washed their hands or used the hand sanitizer.
We want you to be safe so we sometimes may have to impose additional isolation precautions on patients whom we suspect may have an infectious disease.
If for any reason you are in isolation or under certain precautions, please have your visitors check in at the nursing station for proper attire before they enter your room. Our infection control staff will be glad to answer questions about isolation and other precautions. Infection control instructions for isolation precautions will be updated as new information is received from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention or the District of Columbia Department of Health.
Surgery and Tests
You have a right to have all of your questions answered by the physician before you give informed consent for any procedure. If you have any surgery, ask your physician to mark the part of your body that is to be operated on.