Settling In For Your Stay at MedStar Georgetown

Admitting and Registration

The registration process is designed to validate past information or make changes. By checking your address, birth date and other relevant data each time you register, we are making sure that your medical records and bills are handled smoothly and that your safety and identity are protected through accurate record identification.

Cashier's Office

The Cashier’s Office is located on the first floor of the Main Building across the hall from the concierge’s desk and is open Monday through Friday from 8:15 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.

Advance Directives

Advance directives are instructions written by you, which state your choices for medical treatment or name someone to make such choices for you should you become unable to make decisions yourself. Advance Directives enable you to limit or extend the use of medical or life-sustaining procedures. MedStar Georgetown University Hospital offers a booklet called "Making Decisions about your Medical Care" that can help your family and physicians understand your desires with regard to end-of-life decisions. Each patient has the right to have an Advance Directive (e.g., living will) concerning treatment decisions and/or designating a surrogate decision-maker with the expectation that the hospital will honor the intent of that directive to the extent permitted by law and hospital policy. You have the right to timely information about hospital policy or District law that may limit the ability to implement fully a legally valid advance directive. It is imperative that you discuss your Advance Directive with your physician prior to hospitalization, during the hospital stay and after discharge. If you would like to fill out an Advance Directive, please call Pastoral Care at ext. 4-3030 or Patient Access at ext. 4-3180. This document is also available in Spanish.

Financial Assistance

If you have a concern about your insurance coverage, please discuss this with your Case Manager.

Identification Bracelet

Be sure to wear your hospital identification bracelet during your entire visit. If you receive a colored safety bracelet, keep that on as well. Colors used at Georgetown include red for allergies, yellow for patient at risk to fall, grey for obstructive sleep apnea, and pink for restricted extremity for venipuncture or blood pressure.

Your Room

We are committed to ensuring that you are as comfortable as possible during your stay with us. Your room assignment depends upon the type of care you require. Some services are restricted to specific locations to ensure proper care is being provided. We will make every effort to provide the type of accommodations that you request. Please be aware that we have a limited number of private rooms and they are assigned based on medical necessity and then on a first-come first-served basis, as they are available. Upon admission, the nursing staff will acquaint you with various features in your room, including your bed's electrical controls and the nurse-call system. Here are a few suggestions to make your stay as safe as possible:

  • Keep the top two side rails raised while in the bed to avoid rolling out
    while asleep or under sedation.
  • Store eyeglasses and dentures in the drawer of your bedside table (and be sure to place dentures in the special cup for that purpose-do not wrap them in tissues).
  • Do not use electric appliances such as blow dryers and shavers (battery-operated razors are acceptable).
  • Inform the nurse of any medications you brought from home and use them only if your doctor writes the order to do so and under nursing supervision.

To call your nurse, a call button is attached to your pillow or bed linen. There is also a call button in each bathroom and shower. When you press the button, the nursing station is alerted that you need assistance and a light flashes above your door. A staff member will respond to your signal as soon as possible.


Our Housekeeping staff seeks to provide you with very good care by keeping your room and the nursing unit clean and tidy. Your housekeeper completely cleans and disinfects your room before you are admitted into the room. Housekeepers clean patient rooms daily, between 7 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. They will remove trash from your room at least once daily, as well as wipe off table surfaces, chairs, and heating units and dust the television and the floor. Your bathroom will also be cleaned. Any spills or other housekeeping issues should be reported to your nurse whenever they happen, so housekeeping can be notified to come to your room.

We conduct surveys during your stay to learn about your current experience here at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. You may also receive a more general patient survey in the mail after you are discharged. Please take a few minutes to complete and return the questionnaire. Your comments and suggestions will be confidentially shared with our managers and staff. Feedback from our patients provides us with valuable information that helps us improve our housekeeping services as well as recognize those employees who go above and beyond.

Bed Linens

Your bedding will be changed on a regular basis and as necessary by a member of your clinical care team. Remember that it is very easy to misplace small personal items in your bedding. Please be careful to secure such belongings in your plastic bag or bedside table, or send them home with family or friends for safekeeping.

Interpreter Services (Foreign Language)

The International Services department provides foreign language interpreters at no charge for patients and their families. Patient Care Coordinators from this department also assist with any special needs. Interpreter Services provides on-site interpreters and access to Language Line® Dual Handset Telephones. These special phones can be installed in patient rooms to provide direct connection to a multi-lingual medical interpreter. Call International Services ext. 4-1588, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. For assistance after hours and on weekends, please speak with your nurse.

Deaf and Hearing-Impaired Services

American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters are provided as a complimentary service for deaf in- and out-patients to ensure that every aspect of care can be accurately communicated. The Patient and Physician Advocacy Department at ext. 4-3040 arranges all requests for ASL interpreters, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m. For assistance after-hours and on weekends, please speak with your nurse.

Amenities provided for deaf and hard-of-hearing patients include:

  • TTY/TDD Phones - Call the Patient and Physician Advocacy Department at ext. 4-3040
  • Amplified Phone Handsets - Please ask your nurse, amplified phone handsets are located on each unit.
  • Public TTY/TDD Phone - Available at the Concierge Desk, located in the Main Lobby, 1st Floor

> More about Interpreter Services

Mail Delivery

Mail is delivered once daily in the afternoon. Mail received after discharge will be sent to your forwarding address. Stamped outgoing mail may be left with the nursing unit for mailing.


Medications are an important part of your treatment plan. You must tell your practitioner all medications as well as the doses you are taking, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, diet supplements, herbals and/or vitamins. This is very important because even the most common drugs can cause complications when taken with other medications or treatments.

Some patients find it helpful to bring in their medications so that the staff can be sure of the exact drug type and dosage you have been taking. (Your personal medications will then be sent home with your family.) It is also very important to inform your healthcare team of any allergies or adverse reactions to foods, drinks, medications or sensitivity to latex. In unusual instances, the physician may wish for you to use your medications brought from home. This can only occur when the prescriber explicitly writes a complete "patient may take own medication" order in the chart. Such drugs will be kept at the nurses' station, brought to the patient at dosage times, and returned at the time of discharge.

When a healthcare member enters your room to administer your medications, he or she will need to verify your identity by looking at your identification band and asking your name and date of birth. It is a good idea to carry a wallet-size information card (such as an index card) with vital health history including medications you are currently taking as well as notation of any allergies to medications. If you would like a copy of the medications you are taking while in the hospital, please contact your nurse who will have the list printed for you.

Nutrition Services and Dining Options for Guests

GUH Food and Nutrition Services Department is dedicated to providing high quality, satisfying, and nutritious meals to all patients and visitors. Excellent nutritional care is essential to your speedy recovery. Your specific diet is ordered by your physician and depends on your medical condition. Our Registered and Licensed Dietitians are available to evaluate your nutritional needs and provide nutrition counseling to individual patients. Please be sure to fill out a menu everyday and give it to your nurse. If you do not receive a menu, please request one from your caregiver. We offer a seven-day menu cycle with hot and cold selections for lunch and dinner. Kosher meals are available upon request. Nourishments and snacks such as graham crackers etc. are also available, just ask your nurse.

Guest Trays are available for Breakfast, 8 a.m.-10 a.m., Lunch, 12 p.m.-2:00 p.m., and Dinner, 5 p.m.-6:30 p.m. Guest trays may be ordered by going to the cashier's window on 1st floor Main Building (hours of operation: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.). Menu selections may be made at that time. Prepayment is required. Gourmet Dinners are available to patients (dietary restrictions allowing) and their guests and visitors. They must be pre-ordered and pre-paid by 12 p.m. Dinners are served in the patient's room between 5 p.m.-6:30 p.m. Please ask your nursing staff for the menu and order form. Menus are also available at the cashier's window on 1st floor Main Building and prepayment is made there.

Other Dining Options

Visitors and guests can enjoy snacks and meals from The Georgetown Cafe, The Snack Bar, The Vending Express or the Leavey Conference Center. The Georgetown Cafe is located on the ground floor of the Pasquerilla Healthcare Center (PHC). It features breakfast items, soups, hot and cold entrees, and beverages. It is open every day from 6 a.m.-10 a.m. and from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. The Snack Bar is located on the 2nd floor of the Concentrated Care Center (CCC). It features breakfast items, soups, pre-made sandwiches, salads, and beverages. It is open Monday-Friday from 6 a.m.-11 a.m., and from 12 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. It is closed Weekends and Holidays.

The Vending Express is located on the Ground Floor in the Gorman Building. A variety of hot and cold beverages, snacks and a refrigerated cold food machine with soups, sandwiches, fruit, and salads are available. It is open 24 hours per day, everyday. The Leavey Conference Center* is located across the courtyard from the entrance to Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center and offers several options for both cafeteria-style or restaurant meals, including a newly built full Starbucks, as well as a Cosi Restaurant featuring flatbread sandwiches and pizza and fresh salads.

Hours are as follows:

Cosi Restaurant -
Semester Hours: Monday-Friday 7:30 a.m.-7 p.m., Saturday-Sunday 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Summer Hours: Monday-Friday 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

Starbucks -
Semester Hours: Monday-Friday 6:30 a.m.-9 p.m., Saturday-Sunday 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
Summer Hours: Monday-Friday 6:30 a.m.-5 p.m.

The Faculty Club Restaurant - Monday-Friday, 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

The Food Court - Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

*Please note that hours of operation may vary during Georgetown University vacation periods and holidays.

Radios/CD Players/Books/Audio Tapes

You may use your own radio or CD player only if it is battery operated and has earphones. As these devices are very small and can be easily misplaced, please take extra care to place these devices in a secure place, such as your bedside table, when not in use. Ask your nurse to contact Volunteer Services if you are interested in reading materials or listening to books-on-tape during your stay.

Fire Safety

MedStar Georgetown University Hospital continually holds drills and trains for all emergencies, including the unlikely scenario of fire. If you hear the fire alarm sound, please remain calm and do not leave your room. Your caregivers are well trained in fire safety procedures and will advise you in the event of an actual fire.

Smoke-Free Environment

MedStar Georgetown University Hospital is a smoke-free environment; therefore, smoking is not permitted anywhere in the hospital, garages, or satellite facilities owned or leased by the hospital. Smoking is allowed outside the hospital only in designated areas. Please check with the staff to find a designated area convenient to your location and to ask if you are permitted to leave the nursing unit unaccompanied. Tobacco products are not sold within the hospital campus. If you anticipate difficulty complying with these requirements, or would like to quit smoking, ask your doctor or nurse about educational materials for smoking cessation techniques or products and/or referral to community resources.


Patient phones: For your convenience, every bed (except in ICUs, NICU, and Mental Health Care) is equipped with a telephone. Your telephone number is noted on the large white information poster near your bed. Local calls may be made free of charge. To place a call in area code 202, dial 9, wait for a second dial tone, and then dial the desired number. To make local calls to area codes 703 or 301, dial 9, then 1, then the area code and number. To make a long distance call, dial 9, then 0 (in some cases you must dial 00), followed by the area code and number. An operator will intercept your call to obtain your credit card or home telephone number. If Call Forwarding or Do Not Disturb features have been activated on your phone, you may cancel these features by following these instructions. Please be aware that these features can be accidentally activated, and if so, the calls will automatically forward to the Hospital operators.


  • Pick up your phone
  • Get a dial tone
  • Dial #91
  • Follow recorded instructions to forward calls to alternate number
  • Hang up


  • Pick up your phone
  • Get a dial tone
  • Dial # #91
  • Hang up
  • Test to see if calls come to the phone


  • Pick up your phone
  • Get a dial tone
  • Dial #5
  • Hang up


  • Pick up your phone
  • Get a dial tone
  • Dial ##5
  • Hang up
  • Test to see if calls come to the phone

If these steps do not correct the problem it should be reported to the Help Desk at 4-2111. As prompted, push #2 for telecommunications, and stay on the line for a technician to answer the phone.

Cell phones

To provide a safe patient-care environment, the use of cell phones is limited in designated patient care areas. Please obey signs. In other hospital areas, maintain a distance of at least six feet between your cellular phone and any medical equipment.

Amplified head sets

See "Deaf and Hearing-Impaired Services"
Language Line® Dual Handset Telephones: See Interpreter Services
(Foreign Language)

Television Service

Remote control color television sets in patient rooms are available for each
patient bed. The Georgetown University Chapel with sacred music is available 24 hrs/day in all patient rooms. If your TV needs repair, please ask your nurse to call Customer Service. Private televisions are not permitted in the hospital.

Listed below are the available channels

MedStar Georgetown University Hospital TV Lineup:
NOTE: Pediatrics Unit (C5-2 and C5-3) have their own cable lineup. Contact your nurse for further information.

  • 02 MedStar Georgetown University Hospital Chapel
  • 04 NBC
  • 05 FOX
  • 07 ABC
  • 09 CBS
  • 11 WETA (PBS)
  • 13 DC50
  • 14 Noggins Kids
  • 15 Discovery Kids
  • 16 PBS Kids Sprout
  • 17 G4 Video Game TV
  • 18 Nicktoons
  • 20 Toon Disney
  • 21 Baby First
  • 22 Science
  • 23 Game Show Network
  • 33 ESPN
  • 34 ESPN2
  • 35 Univision (Spanish)
  • 36 Galavision (Spanish)
  • 37 FOX sports
  • 39 CNN
  • 40 FOX news
  • 41 CNN headline
  • 42 TBS
  • 43 WEATHER
  • 44 TNT
  • 45 USA
  • 46 ABC family
  • 47 AMC
  • 50 TLC
  • 51 CARTOON
  • 52 NICK
  • 53 DISNEY
  • 55 COMEDY
  • 56 VH1
  • 58 Travel Network
  • 59 The Food Network
  • 60 National Geographic
  • 61 Telefutura (Spanish)

Tests and Diagnostic Procedures

During your inpatient stay, you may be asked to undergo various tests. Due to the nature of certain tests, you may be asked not to eat or drink during particular time periods. For other tests, you may be asked to undergo special preparations or drink specific liquids prior to the test being performed. Some tests may even take longer than one day to complete. Following all the instructions will help to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the test results. Regardless of what tests you may have, we will fully explain each one to you and inform you of any special preparations or restrictions required.


We strongly encourage family members to take patient valuables home. When this is not possible, valuables can be secured in the hospital safe in the Protective Services Office. A nurse can arrange this for you. Please immediately inform your nurse of any possessions brought into the hospital after admission so he/she can add them to your clothing list. When not in use, your eyeglasses, hearing aids, and dentures should be safely stored in your bedside table. Please ask your nurse for a storage bag if needed. Remember that patients are responsible for valuables left in their rooms.

Visiting Hours

Visiting hours vary with patient care areas. Listed below are general visiting hours, HOWEVER, these hours may change depending on a number of variables. Please confirm with your nurse. Children under 12 years of age are not permitted in adult patient care areas.

Medical Surgical Units

Visitors are welcome from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on most general medical or surgical units. However, hours vary based on the level of care, the type of unit and physician's instructions. Ask your nurse for information about your unit. Due to the limited amount of space in the patient rooms and waiting areas, we ask that you limit your visitors to two people at a time. Please be courteous and considerate of other patients.

Intensive Care Units

Other than during situations involving patient emergencies, visiting hours for the intensive care units are from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. (The exception is between 7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. when nurses change shift and make rounds on each patient.) Visitors are generally limited to members of the immediate family and are allowed at the discretion of the nursing staff. Flowers and plants are not permitted in intensive care units. Policy prohibits visitation overnight in patient rooms.


There are no restrictions on hours in Labor and Delivery but the number of visitors is limited to two other than the primary support person. (husband or partner). The visiting hours for 2 North are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Small children, including siblings of the newborn, are permitted on the unit if accompanied by an adult. One primary support person is allowed to stay overnight.


In NICU, PICU, and Pediatrics, parents can visit at any time. In NICU no children under the age of 16 are permitted except siblings, and a parent must accompany all visitors. In pediatrics, arrangements may be made through the nurse for sibling visits.

Psychiatry (5W)

Psychiatry visiting hours are as follows:
Monday-Friday 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.
Monday-Thursday 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Friday 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Holidays 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.

During Surgery

Family members and visitors may wait in the Surgical Waiting Room on 2nd floor, Concentrated Care Center (CCC) if you are going to be admitted to the hospital following surgery. If you are going home after your surgical procedure, family members may wait in the Pediatric Surgery Center waiting room on ground floor, CCC Building. Visitors are not permitted in the operating rooms at any time. In some circumstances, family members may visit patients in the PACU following surgery for brief periods. The Surgical Liaison will be in the 2nd floor waiting room between the hours of 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. The liaison is there to answer your family's questions and provide information as it becomes available. During the hours when the liaison is not there, your family may receive information from the Operating Rooms via the waiting room telephone and the perioperative nurses.

Your Role In Preventing Infections

The MedStar Georgetown University Hospital Infection Prevention and Control Program is committed to patient safety by doing everything possible to prevent the spread of infections among patients, healthcare workers, and visitors. Frequent contact is made between people who have an infection or can spread one, and people who can easily become infected. Some types of procedures can increase a patient's risk of infection. Preventing infections is important to help patients recover quickly and stay as healthy as possible.

Cleanliness is the key to infection prevention and control. The best way to prevent the spread of infection is through good hand washing with soap and water or with alcohol-based hand foam using the following simple guidelines:

Hand Wash Procedure

  • Wet hands with warm water
  • Apply soap
  • Rub together fronts/backs for 15 seconds
  • Rinse thoroughly & dry completely
  • Use paper towel to turn off water
  • Alcohol-based Hand Foam Procedure
  • Dispense 5 grams (a palmful) of hand foam into one hand
  • Spread thoroughly over fronts/back hands
  • Rub until dry

When should you wash your hands?

  • After using the toilet, blowing your nose, or sneezing
  • After handling dirty items
  • Before and after eating, drinking, or handling food
  • When your hands look dirty

Everyone should wash his/her hands before and after entering your room. There is easily accessible alcohol-based hand foam at the entrance to your room for this purpose. Feel free to ask anyone entering your room to wash their hands if you have not seen them do so.

Other ways to prevent infections include, but are not limited to:

  • Always use good personal hygiene.
  • Don't share patient care items such as creams, glassware, or towels with
    your roommate.
  • Take an active part in your care.
  • If you have an illness that could be dangerous to others, don't visit the
    hospital while you are infectious.
  • If you have questions about certain situations, ask a doctor or nurse.
  • Be aware of infection possibilities and early signs of infection (coughs,
    fever, rashes, redness, swelling).

If you have questions, contact the Infection Control Department at ext. 4-3686 or ext. 4-3711.

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