Critical Care Patient and Family Support Services
A stay in Critical Care can sometimes be stressful and overwhelming. Washington
Hospital Healthcare System provides an array of support services for patients
and their families to help make the experience here go as smoothly as
possible. The following services and resources are available to help make
you comfortable during your visit or stay, or to meet a special need:
Critical Care Journal
Upon admission to Critical Care, family members can be provided with a
journal to write in. For family members, having a patient in Critical
Care can be a highly stressful experience. Studies have shown that writing
in a daily journal at the bedside can relieve some anxiety and stress
that families feel. When returning home, the journals enable patients
to make sense of their Critical Care experience. A Critical Care journal
can be a place where family members:
- Keep a timeline of events for the patient
- Express feelings and emotions
- Document their presence, commitment and supportive role
- Communicate information for other family members to read
At discharge, the patient and/or family take the journal home.
Spiritual Care Program
Washington Hospital understands that meeting the emotional and spiritual
needs of our patients is important for the healing process. We recognize
that our patients and their families come from diverse backgrounds, religions
and faiths. Washington Hospital has interfaith chaplains available to
provide compassionate support to meet your needs.
Our interfaith spiritual care staff can provide:
- A caring presence and a listening ear for patients and families
- Spiritual or religious support for all faith traditions and religious beliefs
- Assistance in contacting your personal clergy or someone from your faith tradition
- Religious sacraments and rituals such as communion, sacrament of the sick,
confession and blessing
- Bibles or other spiritual reading materials
- Support with decisions associated with the end of life and related grief
To request a chaplain or to contact the Spiritual Care Program, please
call (510) 818-6569, or tell the bedside nurse you want spiritual support.
After hours, call the Hospital operator.
The goals of palliative care are to alleviate physical, emotional, and
spiritual suffering and provide patients with the best quality of life.
The patient's multidisciplinary support team may include doctors,
nurses, social workers, therapists, and counselors who work to relieve
symptoms like pain, anxiety, shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting.
The Hospital has two nondenominational meditation rooms available to everyone,
open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The meditation rooms offer a quiet
space for reflection, prayer books from many faith traditions, and prayer
rugs and kneeling stools. One is located on the first floor of the Main
Hospital, across the hall from the surgery waiting room. The second medication
room is located on the first floor of the Morris Hyman Critical Care Pavilion.
Case Management and Social Work Services
Dealing with an illness can be a very difficult time for patients and their
loved ones. At Washington Hospital, experienced and sensitive social workers
and case managers are available to assist patients and their families
cope with the many psychological and social problems that may arise when
facing an illness, hospitalization and medical treatment.
Our social workers act as patient advocates by serving as counselors, helping
to find resources and solving problems. When medically necessary, case
managers also help arrange alternate levels of care for patients after
leaving the Hospital, which may include rehabilitation facilities, skilled
nursing facilities, hospice, or board and care homes. Any concerns related
to the psychological, practical or social well-being of each patient or
their loved ones may be discussed openly with our social workers.
Our social workers and case managers offer a wide range of services, including:
- Discharge planning for patients after they leave the Hospital
- Answering questions related to health insurance, Medi-Cal, Medicare, social
security and state disability
- Case coordination to help you decide on the best arrangements for you when
you leave the Hospital
- Psychosocial evaluations and treatment planning
- Crisis intervention
- Financial assessment and reporting
- Advance directive assistance
- Community resources
- Helping arrange home health care and home hospice
- Setting up durable medical equipment
It is important that you stay rested and healthy for your loved one. Take
breaks, drink fluids, eat nutritional foods, and get exercise and rest.
Taking Care of YOU: Self-Care for Family Caregivers
Other Members of Critical Care Staff:
Non-intensivist consulting physicians: Depending on the patient’s
specific illness, other subspecialist physicians may be consulted by the
intensivist to help manage the patient.
Respiratory therapists manage the ventilator (breathing machine) and provide
breathing treatments to patients with breathing problems.
Dietitians evaluate the patient’s specific nutritional needs and
make feeding recommendations to the intensivist.
Physical therapists start the rehabilitation process in Critical Care to
minimize loss of strength and mobility. Occupational therapists assist
the patient to be able to engage in the activities of daily living.
Speech therapists help patients who have trouble with speech or swallowing.
These functions are often impaired during critical illness. Speech therapists
will help us determine what foods, if any, the patient can safely swallow.
Social workers help provide patients and families with psychosocial support
needed to cope with illness. They help provide patient education and counseling,
and make referrals to other services.
Case managers help determine the patient’s needs prior to discharge
and help coordinate the proper arrangements for patients as they prepare
to leave the Hospital.
Spiritual care specialists provide families with emotional and spiritual
support during times of critical illness. They offer prayer, religious
rituals or sacraments, and support with end-of-life issues.
Palliative care provides support and guides families of patients who are
extremely ill in making difficult medical decisions.
Concierge Services – During your stay with us, we want you to be as comfortable as
possible. You are invited to use our free concierge services. They can
provide information on everything from where to go to pre-register to
where local restaurants and hotels are located. Hours: Monday to Friday
8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Patient Representative – Our patient representative can act as a liaison between the patient,
his or her family, and the Hospital, communicating questions and concerns
to the appropriate staff members, and explaining the Hospital’s
policies and procedures. Phone: (510) 818-7328.
Valet Parking – Free valet parking is available, located right outside the Main
Hospital entrance. Hours: Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday
and Sunday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Cafeteria – Breakfast: 7 to 10 a.m.; Lunch: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Dinner: 5 to 7 p.m.
Vending Machines – Located in the surgery waiting room and on the first floor of
the Main Hospital.
Gift Shop – Located in the Main Hospital lobby. Hours: Monday to Friday 9
a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
ATM – Located off the Main Hospital lobby, across from the cashier’s office.
Common Medical Terms:
Links to Other Useful Websites:
Non-English Speaking Resources:
- Click on the link with your language