Being a Patient at St George Hospital

THE EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT

Video - Important information about being a patient in the Emergency Department at St George Hospital

You may have been admitted to the hospital via our Emergency Department. St George Hospital has one of the busiest Emergency Departments in New South Wales and is the major trauma centre for South East Sydney. At St George Hospital, we take pride in providing quality emergency care to people from the local community and from all over New South Wales.

Each year more than 45,000 patients seek treatment from St George Hospital’s Emergency Department, ensuring that our staff are busy every day.

Every person seeking emergency care is first assessed by a specialist triage nurse, whose job is to allocate a triage code to each patient. This allows the emergency team to prioritise treatment depending on who is sickest.

People needing emergency care are treated according to the urgency of their condition. The most urgent patients are always seen first, so the time individuals wait for treatment will vary.

Emergency patients who arrive at the hospital by ambulance or helicopter enter the department through a door that cannot be seen from the waiting room. This means our emergency team may often be busier than it would seem from outside. Please ask a staff member if you have any concern regarding your condition.

 

PERITONECTOMY and INTRAPERITONEAL CHEMOTHERAPY GUIDE

The Peritonectomy and Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy – A guide for patients and their carers

 

DAY SURGERY UNIT

If you are booked to undergo Day Surgery at St George Hospital there is important information that you need to know.  Please click here for an explanation on what to expect when you arrive at the Day Surgery Unit until you are discharged following your surgery.

 

HOW LONG WILL YOU STAY?

Advances in medical technology as well as better outpatient services mean that your stay in hospital will probably be much shorter than what it would have been 10 years ago. Many procedures that would previously have needed your admission to a ward can now be done as a ‘day only’ procedure or during an outpatient visit. In general, this means people spend less time in hospital.

The doctors and nurses will discuss your care with you whilst you are in the ward, and they will be able to tell you advise you of your Expected Date of Discharge. This is an estimated date where, following treatment and care, it is expected you would be well enough to return home. Some patients recover more slowly than others, so this is why the date is estimated. If there are any delays in preparing you to leave hospital, the staff will inform you so you know your Expected Date of Discharge has changed.

If you are aware of your Expected Date of Discharge it means that you can prepare your family and/or other support services that you might have for your return home after your hospital admission and it will help you arrange your transportation home on that day. On the morning of your discharge day you may be transferred to the Patient Discharge Unit while you are awaiting any final discharge arrangements. Please read our section on ‘Discharge Planning’ later in this guide.

 

CHOOSING BETWEEN PUBLIC AND PRIVATE HEALTH CARE

According to the existing Medicare Agreement, every Australian resident (except those who are receiving treatment in an insurance matter) has the right to elect to be treated as either a chargeable (private) or non-chargeable (public) patient. It is very important that you tell the admissions staff whether you choose to be admitted as a private or public patient.

Patient Liaison Officers are available to discuss the benefits of each option and help you to choose the one which suits you best.

 

BEING ADMITTED AS A PRIVATE PATIENT

If you have private health insurance, there are potential benefits for you and for the hospital. Benefits for you include your doctor of choice and a single room, subject to medical need and if a room is available.

The St George Hospital benefits greatly from patients deciding to be a private patient rather than a public patient as we are able to supplement the funding we get from the State Government by accessing private health funds as well as extra Commonwealth Medicare funding. This helps us to maintain accessible, high quality services.

If you are a potential private patient, the Patient Liaison Officer will discuss this issue with you and seek your consent to be admitted as a private patient. If you have any questions or concerns, a Patient Liaison Officer is available seven days a week and can be contacted via the switchboard on 9113 1111. Alternatively, ask the clerk on your ward to arrange for them to come and see you. St George Hospital has electronic access to most health funds for the purpose of eligibility checks and is able to provide a printed copy.

A guide to using your private health insurance at St George Hospital

YOUR WARD

Different wards may have different routines and systems. A member of staff will explain your ward layout and routine to you.

When you are admitted to the hospital you will be given an identification bracelet. You are required to wear this identification bracelet at all times. Please check the details on the bracelet, such as the spelling of your name, date of birth and address. Let staff know if any of the details are incorrect.

At the start of every nursing shift, the nurses who look after you will introduce themselves to you. Staff come on duty at 7:00am, 1:30pm and 9:30pm. At these shift-changing times, a handover should occur at your bedside and you are encouraged to participate in the communication relating to your care.

Patients are accommodated in single, two or four bed rooms. Every effort will be made to ensure you are allocated to a bed that is specific to your gender within 24 hours.

Single rooms are allocated on a medical needs basis. If a single room is not required for a medically ill patient, it may be made available to private patients who will be charged for the accommodation. It is important to note that you may be asked to move if a seriously ill patient requires the room.

Each bed has a call button that registers your need for assistance from the nursing staff. Please press the button once only and a nurse will come to you as soon as possible.

 

MONITORING YOUR MEDICATIONS

The hospital pharmacy will supply you with medications during your stay. Please bring your medications or a current medication list from your General Practitioner or Pharmacist with you. If you come in the evening, overnight or on a weekend you may have to bring your own medications for use until the pharmacy is open. Please give all the medications you brought with you to the nursing staff.

Once you have been given medications by your doctor or the nurses, we ask you not to take your own medications. This will help prevent any complications. Make sure you tell the staff about everything you are already taking when you come to hospital. This includes any non-prescription drugs, vitamins or natural therapies you may be taking.

 

ELECTRICAL ITEMS

Please do not bring in or use your own personal plug-in electrical items e.g. hairdryers, shavers. If you have your own electrical medical device e.g. CPAP machine, please check with staff prior to use as the Hospital is required to check electrical devices for electrical safety.

 

SCHEDULING TESTS

You have the right to be seen regularly by a doctor, who may decide you need some tests such as x-rays or blood tests. As we are a major trauma hospital with many patients and emergencies, sometimes you may have to wait for tests. If this happens, we will do our best to keep you informed.

 

HELPING YOURSELF RECOVER

Our knowledge about the best ways to help people get well improves all the time. For example, we now know that people both recover and heal more quickly if they resume their normal activities as soon as possible. With this in mind, staff will encourage you to resume your usual routines such as walking and showering.

 

MEALS

Patients receive a daily menu from which they make their meal choices for the following day. If you have any food allergies, for example wheat free or nut free, it is important to let nursing staff know as soon as you are admitted. Requests for special dietary needs such as diabetes, halal or vegetarian, should be made to the nursing staff on admission. An appropriate diet will be organised by the Dietetics Department, or if required, a dietetic consultation may be arranged.

Meal times are as follows:
Breakfast: 7am to 8:30am
Lunch: 11:30am to 1pm
Dinner: 4:30pm to 6pm


Hot and cold drinks are available at morning tea, afternoon tea and supper.

You may also be asked to not eat or drink before a procedure or test. Staff will let you know the time you should stop eating or drinking. It is very important that you follow this instruction. If you do not it may affect your procedure or test and may increase your length of stay in hospital.

Permission may be obtained for family or friends to assist you at meal times or to bring familiar dishes provided the nursing staff or dietician have confirmed that the dish is permitted with your condition or treatment and you are not “nil by mouth” for a test or procedure.

 

VISITING HOURS

Your family, friends and carers are welcome to visit you during your stay in hospital. We recommend brief visits of no more than two people at a time. Children must be supervised by an adult.

Visiting hours are as follows:
General Wards: 10am to 12:30pm and 3pm to 8pm
Maternity Unit: 3pm to 8pm
Intensive Care Unit: 10am to 1pm and 3:30pm to 8pm
Mental Health Unit 10am to 8pm

Should your visitors need to visit outside of these hours, please speak to the Nursing Unit Manager or Nurse In-Charge of the shift.

Rest period: 12:30pm to 3:00pm i.e. visiting is not permitted between these hours.

Discharge time is 10:00am. Please arrange for someone to be at the hospital by 9:30am so you can organise to leave the ward area by 10:00am.

 

VISITOR ACCOMMODATION

There are a number of hotel and motels in the area. View the Yellow Pages online for more information.

 

ACCOMMODATION FOR PARENTS OF HOSPITALISED CHILDREN

The Children's Ward has facilities to enable one parent to stay with their child. Adjacent to each patient bed in the Children's Ward is either a sofa bed or a fold-up bed for this purpose. There is a designated parents' area at the rear of the ward, including a kitchenette, shower and toilet facilities, and a TV. Parents may either provide their own meals or access the hospital cafeteria. Please note there are no facilities for other siblings to stay overnight.

 

BEZZINA HOUSE

Bezzina House is a purpose-built lodge located on the corner of Gray and Short Streets, Kogarah. It includes 15 self-contained units, some with wheelchair access, and is managed by the Hospital's Division of Cancer Services. Opened in 1998, it provides comfortable accommodation for cancer patients (and their immediate carer) while the patient is undergoing outpatient treatment at St George Hospital. Bookings can be made after an appointment for treatment is confirmed by calling (02) 9113 2555. Please note that a moderate cost is involved.

Bezzina House Information Pack

 

PATIENT ENQUIRIES

Staff will answer enquiries about your condition wherever possible. As the morning period is a very busy time for staff we request that enquiries be made after 10am each morning. Staff are only able to discuss confidential information with yourself and your next of kin (with your permission).

 

OVERSEAS PATIENTS

If you have been admitted to hospital and you permanently reside overseas, you will need to speak to the Patient Liaison Officer to clarify your health cover. This will not affect the level of care or the treatment provided.