Participation in Your Care at Jefferson Hospital

Your involvement as a partner in the healthcare process aids your recovery. You can participate by answering, to the best of your ability, the questions the staff may ask. It will not be unusual for you to be asked some of the same questions several times as we gather information regarding your condition. This occurs because it is important that we obtain all the information we need as completely as possible.

It is also important that you understand your condition, medical tests, medications and treatments. Feel free to ask questions about your care, as well as express your values and preferences.

Speak up program

At Jefferson, our goal is to create a culture where patients feel empowered to ask questions. We developed the "Speak Up" program to encourage interactive communication, break down barriers and improve patient and family education.

By following these guidelines, you can
"Take Health Matters into Your Own Hands."

  • It's your body and you have a right to know.
  • Ask questions - even if you feel embarrassed.
  • Expect health care workers to introduce themselves when they enter your room. It's OK to look for their identification badges.
  • Expect physicians and caregivers to clean their hands before they provide care to you.
  • It's OK to remind everyone to clean his or her hands before entering and when leaving your room.
  • If you have any questions about the medical equipment used in your care, please ask.
  • Gather information about your condition, diagnosis, tests, and treatment plan. Good sources include your doctor and nurse.
  • Write down questions to ask your caregivers.
  • Know what papers you are signing.
  • Your advocate can ask questions on your behalf.
  • Your advocate can also help remember answers to questions you have asked.
  • Ask about the purpose of the medication and ask for written information.
  • If you do not recognize a medication, verify that it is for you.
  • Be involved.
  • Speak up and participate in your care.
  • Ask about your options.
  • Before you leave the hospital, make sure you understand your discharge instructions.

Designated spokesperson for family

We are sensitive to your family's need for information regarding your condition. In order to minimize disruptions in care, we ask that one person be designated by you as the family spokesperson. The spokesperson can then relay information to the rest of the family, allowing our caregivers to focus full attention on your care. You may designate anyone to be able to receive updates via phone on your condition. On admission, a card listing the password will be given to you. You may give the password to anyone you prefer. The caller will be asked for the password whenever requesting information.

Medical ethics

An Interdisciplinary Ethics Advisory Committee is available to patients and their loved ones encountering ethical dilemmas such as opinions regarding treatment goals, aggressiveness of treatment, or communication issues. Differences of opinion can be between patient (or their surrogate) and the medical staff or between family members. Requests for consultations can be made through the nursing staff or ask your nurse to contact the administrative supervisor.


Jefferson Hospital is committed to the health, safety, dignity, and well-being of our patients. Our philosophy seeks to limit the use of restraints to clinically-justified situations. Restraints are only used when authorized by the physician.


It is important for you to keep an ongoing list of all the medications you are currently taking including prescriptions, over-the-counter medication, and nutritional supplements such as vitamins, herbs and minerals. Include the name, dose, and how often you are taking each one and include any allergic reaction you have experienced to any medication or food. Always bring this list with you to the physician's office and the hospital.

If you bring in your medication bottles to the hospital, have them sent home after the nurse has reviewed them. Never take any medications of your own while in the hospital unless specifically ordered by the physician. While you are in the hospital, your doctor may prescribe medications that are different from those you were taking prior to admission. Please ask questions if you are unfamiliar with any of your medications and their possible side-effects.

Advance Directives

Advance Directives and Healthcare Power of Attorney are documents that inform your physician of your wishes regarding medical treatment if you cannot speak for yourself.

If you do become unable to communicate and you have not written down your wishes, Pennsylvania law authorizes certain individuals to speak for you as "healthcare representatives." Hospitals must use this list in this order, unless you have told your doctor, nurse or another healthcare provider otherwise. You are the only one who can communicate your wishes through an Advance Healthcare Directive.

For more information on these documents, call the Case Management Department at ext. 7556 Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. On weekends or evenings, ask to meet with the administrative supervisor.

Patient falls

While you are in our care, your safety is a major 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.