Learning About Your Health
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- Pre-Registration and Learning Center
- What is Pre-Registration?
- Step 1 - Pre-Registration
- Step 2 - Health History
- At the Hospital
- For Children Having a Surgery, Test or Procedure
- Prepare For Your Surgery, Test or Procedure
- Your Medications
- Our Concern for Your Comfort
- When You Go Home
- Frequently Asked Questions about Surgical Site Infections
- Ten Important Patient Safety Tips
- More Ways to Learn
Pre-Registration and Learning Center
Tel # (415) 600-2500
1825 Sacramento Street at Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94109
Free Valet Parking
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What is Pre-Registration?
Pre-registration is a two-step process that you must complete before having a surgery, test or procedure at California Pacific Medical Center.
Note: We encourage those who do not speak English to have an English-speaking family member or friend help them with this process.
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Step 1 - Pre-Registration
Online (only for patients having surgery)
Complete the Surgery Pre-Registration form for the campus where your surgery is scheduled. Your registration will be processed within one business day of receipt. Be sure to have your insurance information with you when you begin.
If you do not wish to pre-register online, please call (415) 600-2500 to speak with an admitting representative. (Call us 1 – 2 weeks before your scheduled surgery or procedure if you wish to complete both steps by telephone.) The admitting staff will help you complete all necessary forms. Be sure to have your insurance information with you when you begin.
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Step 2 - Health History
A nurse will take your health history, answer your questions and explain what testing is necessary before your surgery, test or procedure.
- If you complete Step 1 online, a nurse will call you at the time you requested on the online form about 1 – 2 weeks before your surgery, test or procedure.
- If you complete Step 1 by phone, the nurse may take your health history during this call.
Please bring the following information with you to your pre-procedure appointment (if needed) and to your surgery, test or procedure.
- Any paperwork from your doctor.
- Your insurance card.
- A list of medications that you are currently taking.
- Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare (Advance Healthcare Directive).
- Guardians/Conservators: Guardians of a child under the age of 18 or Conservators acting as the legal representative of an adult patient who is unable to consent on his/her own behalf must bring documentation that establishes them as the person authorized to make health care decisions for the patient.
Description: The map above shows the Pre-Registration and Learning Center located at 1825 Sacramento Street between Van Ness Avenue and Franklin Street.
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At the Hospital
On the Day of Your Surgery, Test or Procedure
Arrival Time: Adults are generally asked to arrive 90 minutes before the scheduled surgery, test, or procedure. Pediatric patients are asked to arrive one hour before the scheduled surgery or procedure. Please confirm the arrival time with your surgeon's office on the working day before surgery.
Delays: Your care, comfort and privacy are our main concerns. Our goal is to make sure that your surgery, test or procedure starts within 30 minutes of the scheduled time. Please know that we will take the time needed to safely and thoroughly care for you, which can sometimes cause delays. We will keep you informed if delays occur.
Medicines: Take only the medicines that you were told to by the nurse or surgeon/primary doctor - with a sip of water.
Clothing: Wear loose, comfortable clothing. Bring cases for glasses, contact lenses, and dentures. You will need to remove them before your surgery, test or procedure.
Your Valuables: Do not wear or bring wedding bands, body piercings, other jewelry, cash, credit cards, or checkbooks. Pack a small overnight bag with your personal items if your surgeon has told you that you will be staying overnight.
Staying Overnight: If you are staying overnight after your surgery, our standard discharge time is 11:00 a.m. Arrange for someone to drive you home. Your doctor or nurse will tell you if there is a medical reason for you to stay longer.
Surgical Waiting Area
During your surgery, test or procedure, your family and friends may wait in the waiting area. The staff will keep your family and friends well informed.
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For Children Having a Surgery, Test or Procedure
Admitting a child to the hospital is a stressful time for the whole family. Our Child Life Specialist can help you and your child become more familiar and comfortable with the hospital environment before admission. This program can help children understand and deal with any procedure, and also helps create a “home like” environment. Playroom activities help siblings understand and be involved with the family’s hospital experience, as well as the transition back to normal routines.
To schedule an appointment with our Child Life Specialist before the procedure, please call (415) 600-0711.
Parents of a child admitted for a surgery, test or procedure must watch their child closely to be sure that all pre-surgical instructions are followed, especially fasting before the procedure.
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Prepare For Your Surgery, Test or Procedure
- Call your surgeon's/doctor's office the day before to confirm your arrival time.
- Check with Your Doctor About the Medicines You Are Taking. Ask your surgeon or primary doctor if and when you should stop taking any of your regular medicines (such as blood thinners and diabetes medicines) or vitamins, over-the-counter medications, and herbal supplements.
- Your nurse will tell you which medicines to take, with a sip of water, on the day of your surgery, test or procedure.
- Do not eat or drink anything after midnight (12:00 a.m.) the night before your surgery, test or procedure. This includes coffee, water, hard candy, and chewing gum, unless your doctor tells you otherwise. You need to have an empty stomach in order to be sedated safely.
- Tell your surgeon if you have had something to eat or drink.
- Drink plenty of fluids before midnight the night before to make sure you are hydrated.
- Do not shave before surgery. We care about your safety and this helps prevent infection at the site of surgery.
- You are strongly encouraged not to smoke or drink alcohol for 24 hours before your hospital stay.
- Arrange for someone to take you home after your hospital stay. Note: You may not go home alone in a taxi or on public transportation. You must have a responsible adult with you when you leave the hospital. If you do not, your surgery may be canceled.
- Arrange for someone to stay with you at home on the night of your surgery, test or procedure. If you have children in your care, arrange babysitting for at least 24 hours after your return home.
- there are any changes in your health condition, such as a cold, flu or fever.
- you have recently had an infection.
- you are pregnant or may be pregnant.
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- Bring a Medication List to the Hospital
- If you are taking blood-thinning medicines or Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory medicines, call your surgeon/primary doctor and ask if and/or when you should stop taking them. Blood-thinning medicines include Aspirin, Coumadin (Warfarin), and Plavix (Clopidogrel). Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory medicines include Naprosyn (Naproxen), Advil (Ibuprofen), and Motrin (Ibuprofen).
- If you are taking medicines for diabetes, such as Glucophage (Metformin), Micronase (Glyburide), or Glucotrol (Glipizide), call your surgeon/primary doctor and ask when you should stop taking these medicines.
- If you are taking insulin, ask your surgeon/primary doctor about the dosage (amount) and type of insulin you should take, or whether NOT to take your insulin beforehand.
- If you are taking vitamins or herbal supplements, call your surgeon/primary doctor and ask if you should stop taking these before your surgery, test or procedure.
- Fill New Prescriptions
Ask if you should fill new prescriptions, including pain medicine, before your surgery, test or procedure.
- Your surgeon/primary doctor may ask you to bring all of your current medicines in their original containers to the hospital. Bring only the medicines you are asked to bring.
Note: For patient safety, please give any and all medicines from home to the nursing staff. Medicine brought from home will not be used during your stay in the hospital unless it is not available from the hospital pharmacy. Your medicines will be returned to you when you are ready to go home.
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Our Concern for Your Comfort
Although there may be some discomfort after a surgery, test or procedure, keeping your pain under control speeds your recovery. When you are comfortable, you are better able to walk, breathe deeply, and cough.
- Your doctors and nurses will frequently ask you to tell them your pain level.
- Do not wait until the pain is severe (very bad) before you ask for pain medicine.
- You can help your doctors and nurses "rate" your pain using the FACES Pain Rating Scale below. A 0 on the scale means no pain, and a 10 on the scale means the worst pain you can imagine.
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When You Go Home
You will receive instructions for your home care before leaving the hospital. Be sure that you understand these instructions and follow them carefully. Check with your doctors if you have questions or concerns.
To plan for your care at home, ask your doctor or nurse about:
- any new medicines you will be taking
- warning signs for when to call your doctor
- your follow-up care
- what kinds of activities are safe to do (climb stairs, exercise, lifting weight, etc.)
- any special equipment needs
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Frequently Asked Questions about Surgical Site Infections
What is a Surgical Site Infection (SSI)?
A surgical site infection is an infection that occurs after surgery in the part of the body where the surgery took place. Most patients who have surgery do not develop an infection. However, infections develop in about 1 to 3 out of every 100 patients who have surgery.
Some of the common symptoms of a surgical site infection are:
- Redness and pain around the area where you had surgery
- Drainage of cloudy fluid from your surgical wound
Can SSIs be treated?
Yes. Most surgical site infections can be treated with antibiotics. The antibiotic given to you depends on the bacteria (germs) causing the infection. Sometimes patients with SSIs also need another surgery to treat the infection.
What are some of the things that hospitals are doing to prevent SSIs?
To prevent SSIs, doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers:
- Clean their hands and arms up to their elbows with an antiseptic agent just before the surgery.
- Clean their hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub before and after caring for each patient.
- May remove some of your hair immediately before your surgery using electric clippers if the hair is in the same area where the procedure will occur. They should not shave you with a razor.
- Wear special hair covers, masks, gowns, and gloves during surgery to keep the surgery area clean.>
- Give you antibiotics before your surgery starts. In most cases, you should get antibiotics within 60 minutes before the surgery starts and the antibiotics should be stopped within 24 hours after surgery.
- Clean the skin at the site of your surgery with a special soap that kills germs.
What can I do to help prevent SSIs?
Before your surgery:
- Tell your doctor about other medical problems you may have. Health problems such as allergies, diabetes, and obesity could affect your surgery and your treatment.
- Quit smoking. Patients who smoke get more infections. Talk to your doctor about how you can quit before your surgery.
- Do not shave near where you will have surgery. Shaving with a razor can irritate your skin and make it easier to develop an infection.
- At the time of your surgery:
- Speak up if someone tries to shave you with a razor before surgery. Ask why you need to be shaved and talk with your surgeon if you have any concerns.
- Ask if you will get antibiotics before surgery.
- After your surgery:
- Make sure that your healthcare providers clean their hands before examining you, either with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub.
- If you do not see your providers clean their hands, please ask them to do so.
- Family and friends who visit you should not touch the surgical wound or dressings.
- Family and friends should clean their hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub before and after visiting you. If you do not see them clean their hands, ask them to clean their hands.
- Before you go home, your doctor or nurse should explain everything you need to know about taking care of your wound. Make sure you understand how to care for your wound before you leave the hospital.
- Always clean your hands before and after caring for your wound.
- Before you go home, make sure you know who to contact if you have questions or problems after you get home.
- If you have any symptoms of an infection, such as redness and pain at the surgery site, drainage, or fever, call your doctor immediately.
What do I need to do when I go home from the hospital?
If you have additional questions, please ask your doctor or nurse.
This section: Developed by the SHEA Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Committee in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
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Ten Important Patient Safety Tips
Please read this with your family or support person.
- Participate in your medical care and all decisions about your treatment. Ask for written information about your medical condition and treatment. Write down questions for your doctor or nurse. Ask questions and pay attention to all the information you get.
- Read all medical forms carefully. Ask your health care provider if you have any questions or concerns about the forms you are signing, such as consents for surgery. Get answers to your questions before you sign any forms. You have a right to know.
- Ask a family member or friend to be your “advocate.” Choose a trusted family member or friend to be your advocate (an advisor or supporter) who can support you and help ask questions for you if you cannot do so for yourself.
- Make sure your health care provider checks your identity (I.D.). Your I.D. is the name on your I.D. band as well as your medical record number and/or birthday. Your health care provider should check your I.D. band before giving you any medicine, drawing blood or sending you for tests, treatments or procedures.
- Before any surgery, test or procedure, review the correct procedure and operation site with the staff. The staff will ask you to confirm your name and the surgery or procedure you are having before they begin. In some cases, your doctor will mark the spot on your body to be operated on. Make sure that your correct body part is marked. Ask your surgeon if they will take a “time out” just before your surgery. This is done to make sure they are doing the right surgery on the right body part on the right person.
- Move around safely in your hospital room to prevent falls:
- Know where the emergency call light is located.
- Make sure you can reach your call light before the medical staff leaves the room.
- Turn on your call light before you get out of bed.
- Do not get out of bed without help from staff if you feel weak or dizzy.
- Sit on the edge of your bed for a few minutes before you stand up. This helps prevent dizziness.
- Wear slippers or shoes when you get up.
- Make sure the path to your bathroom is clear.
- Bring a list of all of your medicines to your doctor’s appointments and to the hospital. Include vitamins, herbal supplements and over-the-counter medicines you take. Keep a record of vaccines you have had. Do not bring your medicines to the hospital unless your doctor tells you otherwise.
- Understand your medicines. Make sure you know which medicines you take, why you take them, and their dosage and timing instructions. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions about your medicine instructions. When you get a new prescription, make sure you know what the medicine is for and any possible side effects.
- Recognize your medicines: Tell your nurse right away if you notice the color, the label on the medicine, the dose, or the timing of your medicine is different than at home.
- Tell your doctor/nurses about any allergies or side effects to medicines you have had in the past. If you feel suddenly short of breath, have a rash, hives or an itching sensation, tell your nurse right away. You may be allergic to a medicine.
- Before you leave the hospital, you will get a copy of your Medication List from your nurse. This list should match the instructions your doctor has given you about your medicines.
Call (415) 600-2814 and leave a message with the Customer Service department. For the St. Luke’s Campus, call (415) 641-6773. Someone will respond within one business day. For information on the web, visit:
- The Joint Commission at www.jointcommission.org and click on "Speak Up."
- The National Patient Safety Foundation® at www.npsf.org.
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More Ways to Learn
Go to our Your Surgery page for more information on your procedure, including guided imagery sessions, lodging, and CPMC shuttle services
Note: Our goal is to provide very good (level 5) service throughout your visit. Please let us know at anytime if we did not meet this expectation. In order to continually improve our service, you may receive a written satisfaction survey in the mail shortly after your visit. Please complete the survey and let us know why any score is less than very good (level 5) so we can address any issues or concerns.
Produced by the Center for Patient and Community Education in association with the staff and physicians at California Pacific Medical Center. Last updated: 8/09
Wong-Baker FACES Pain Rating Scale from Hockenberry MJ, Wilson D: Wong’s essentials of pediatric nursing, ed. 8, St. Louis, 2009, Mosby. Used with permission. Copyright Mosby.
Funded by: A generous donation from the Mr. and Mrs. Arthur A. Ciocca Foundation.
Note: This information is not meant to replace any information or personal medical advice which you get directly from your doctor(s). If you have any questions about this information, such as the risks or benefits of the treatment listed, please ask your doctor(s).
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