Nurse taking care of patient

What to expect at MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital

Welcome and thank you for choosing MedStar St. Mary's Hospital. We are committed to providing our patients with the best healthcare experience possible and want to make sure you are safe and comfortable during your stay.

Your healthcare team

While you are a patient, you may be visited by many healthcare professionals other than doctors and nurses. All MedStar St. Mary's Hospital staff members wear photo identification badges indicating their name and position, so you can identify them easily.

The physician who admits you is responsible for directing your care while you are a patient in the hospital. As the coordinator for your treatment program, your physician should be consulted if you have questions about your illness. 

For a physician referral, please use the Find-A-Doctor feature or call our Medical Staff office at 301-475-6088.

Hospitalists

Our hospitalists are available to visit with you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They are dedicated to treating and caring for patients admitted to our facility and do not have individual practices outside our hospital.

These physicians will manage and coordinate your care from admission to discharge. A hospitalist will be in frequent contact with your primary doctor on every aspect of your medical care, whether your admission was planned or the result of an emergency.

What are my hospitalist's qualifications?

Our hospitalists are not residents or physicians-in-training. They are highly qualified, fully trained physicians who specialize in the care of hospitalized patients. Our adult and pediatric hospitalists are either board certified or board eligible.

Nursing professionals

Nursing care is provided 24 hours a day by a team of professional registered nurses and nurse technicians. A charge nurse is responsible for directing and coordinating nursing care on each unit. 

We encourage you to share any questions or concerns with your nurse or the charge nurse.

Medical information

The MedStar St. Mary's Hospital pharmacy maintains an up-to-date pharmaceutical reference library and an electronic drug information center, giving us the capability to provide accurate information on any medication. 

For patient medication counseling, please call 301-475-6072.

Case management

Case management is the process in which skilled registered nurses, known as case managers, assist patients and direct caregivers through the healing process to discharge. Case managers make sure that tests, procedures, and activities deemed critical to patients are performed as efficiently as possible while working with patients and families to optimize discharge plans.

Home care

The Chesapeake-Potomac Home Health Agency is a licensed, Medicare-certified agency offering comprehensive home-care services to the residents of St. Mary's, Calvert, and Charles counties. 

Services include skilled nursing, physical therapy, speech-language pathology, medical social work, and home healthcare aides. The agency also has specialized clinical programs, including infusion, wound care, in-home behavioral health, and women's health. 

To contact the agency, call 1-800-656-4343.

Hospice and palliative care

Hospice of St. Mary’s is a community-based program that provides holistic care to terminally ill patients and their families. Hospice’s focus is on care and comfort through pain and symptom management of the patient, with the goal of offering them the best quality of life possible. 

An interdisciplinary team of doctors, nurses, aides, chaplains, volunteers, and social workers work to meet the physical, spiritual, and emotional needs of the patient and their loved ones. Care is offered at the patient’s home or wherever they call home, including a skilled nursing facility or residency at our Hospice House in Callaway, Maryland. Inpatient palliative care services at MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital provide expertise in pain management while supporting the patient and family in the hospital setting.

For more information on Hospice of St. Mary’s or palliative care, call 301-994-3023.

Your stay with us

For your comfort, you are welcome to bring pajamas and other personal items from home. We recommend packing a cell phone and/or tablet with a charger to help stay in touch with loved ones.

Your identification bracelet

During admission, you will receive an identification bracelet with your name and other information. It will be placed on your wrist to identify you to the healthcare team participating in your care. For your safety, staff will frequently reference your name and date of birth to confirm your identity.

Environmental services

Your room will be cleaned daily by a member of our environmental services team. If there is a housekeeping problem in your room, please notify your nurse so we may take care of it promptly.

Telephone usage

A phone is located at your bedside for your use. The following is our telephone use policy:

  • Local calls: To place an outside local call, dial '9' plus the area code and the number you wish to reach. There is no charge for local calls.
  • Long-distance calls: To make a long-distance call from a patient room, dial '9' then '0' then the area code and the number you wish to reach. An outside operator will give you instructions for making a collect call, a calling card call, or other long-distance arrangements. Any charges for the long-distance call will be between you and the long-distance provider.
  • Special needs phones: TTY phones are available for deaf or hearing-impaired patients. Braille and large numbered phones are available for blind and visually impaired patients.

Meals and nutrition

Wholesome, nourishing, and well-balanced meals are an important part of your treatment and recovery. MedStar St. Mary's Hospital makes every effort to provide nutritious meals that are prepared according to your doctor's orders. 

Patients are served breakfast between 7:30 and 9:30 a.m., lunch between 11:45 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., and dinner between 4:45 and 6:30 p.m. 

Daily nutrition and menu options

Our “At Your Request” room service program provides meals to patients 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A menu provided to you will include a call center number through which to place your order. Meals are typically delivered by a member of Food & Nutrition Services within 45 minutes.

If you are on a special diet prescribed by your doctor, you will receive menus tailored to your specific needs

Special diets

A registered dietitian from MedStar St. Mary's Hospital prepares special diet plans for patients with these specific needs and ailments:

  • Diabetic
  • Cardiac
  • Kidney care
  • NPO (nothing by mouth)
  • Weight management

Please call 301-475-6049 to speak with a clinical dietitian regarding inpatient meals.

Patient safety

Please talk to your nurse if you have any questions about your safety or that of a loved one. To discuss patient safety and quality concerns, please feel free to contact our Administrative Offices at 301-475-6001 Monday through Friday during business hours. You may also call the operator at 301-475-8981 and ask to speak with a patient care supervisor. 

Report your concerns

If your concerns about patient safety and quality are not resolved, we encourage you to contact The Joint Commission at: 1-800-994-6610patientsafetyreport@jointcommission.org,  or by contacting them here. You can also reach the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene at 410-528-1840.

Protective measures

To protect patients and associates, the staff at MedStar St. Mary's Hospital practices standard precautions. This means all of our staff members use protective measures when treating each and every patient. 

Precautions include:

  • Vigorous hand washing
  • Use of gloves when starting IVs
  • Wearing of other protective equipment during specified procedures

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, MedStar Health has put in place many protocols for the safety of our patients and staff. Face masks are required for all individuals on hospital property. Physical distancing is enforced, particularly in waiting areas, with floor decals also helping to direct foot traffic. Robust cleaning practices are followed according to Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidance. 

Patient safety guidelines

MedStar St. Mary's Hospital makes every effort to maintain a secure environment for patient care. The following are basic guidelines regarding patient safety:

  • When each patient is admitted, he or she will be evaluated for any risk factors that may cause a safety concern. 
  • If the patient has any safety issues to be addressed, he or she will be moved as close to the nurses' station as possible.
  • Should a patient become confused while at MedStar St. Mary's, various methods will be tried to help keep the patient calm and free from injury. The family may be asked to stay with the patient during this time of confusion or restlessness. If this is not possible, a staff member will be assigned to take care of the patient. During this time, hospital staff members will continue to help the patient remain calm by turning on the TV, walking with the patient, playing different games, and offering frequent rest periods.

If the above methods do not help calm the patient, a safety device may be needed to help the patient stay in bed so he or she will not become injured.

A few basic tips to help prevent falls

  • Always wear non-skid socks when you get out of your bed.
  • If you are a fall risk, please do not get out of bed without assistance. Be sure to use the nurse’s call button for help when getting in and out of a bed, chair, or wheelchair.
  • If you are a fall risk, a staff member will remain with you in the bathroom. 
  • Take care not to lean on a bedside cabinet or table for support. The furniture may move under your weight.
  • Please do not attempt to lower the bedside rails without assistance.
  • Please do not attempt to silence alarms that are set in the chair or in your bed.

Medication

All medications you take while in the hospital are prescribed by your doctor, dispensed by the hospital's pharmacy, and administered by a nurse. For your safety, patients are not permitted to administer drugs or keep personal medications at the bedside.

Tobacco-free environment

Smoking and tobacco use are not permitted on the hospital grounds. If you are a smoker, please talk to your doctor about a prescription or smoking cessation program to help you stop. Health Connections provides smoking cessation classes in partnership with the St. Mary's County Health Department. Call the Health Department at 301-475-4330 for more information.

Valuables

Since the hospital cannot assume responsibility for your personal belongings, we ask that you not keep large sums of money, jewelry, or credit cards with you or at your bedside.

Should you arrive at the hospital with any valuable personal belongings, please send them home with a family member, friend, or significant other. If this is not possible, ask your nurse to arrange to have the valuables placed in the hospital safe. You'll be given a receipt for your belongings and they will be returned to you upon discharge.

Access to our hospital

For your protection, public access to MedStar St. Mary's Hospital is limited to the emergency department entrance after 8 p.m. All other outer entrances of the facility are locked during the night. A fire alarm override has been provided for access to the building by emergency personnel in the event of a fire.

Security

If you have a concern about safety or security, please have your nurse contact the hospital's security department.