During your stay at NewYork-Presbyterian / Columbia University Irving Medical Center, you will meet a team of healthcare professionals who work together to care for you.
Your Care Team
During your stay at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center, you will meet a team of healthcare professionals who work together to care for you. You and your loved ones are also an important part of the care team. We encourage you to speak up and let your needs and concerns be known.
As an academic medical center, NewYork-Presbyterian trains new physicians and serves as a site for teaching medical and health professional students. These individuals may participate in aspects of your care under close supervision by appropriate Hospital staff.
Members of your healthcare team may include, but are not limited to:
There may be many doctors involved in your care. In addition to your attending doctor, who is often your personal doctor or admitting doctor, you may be seen by other medical or surgical specialists, as well as fellows or residents.
A fellow is a doctor pursuing further training in his or her subspecialty. A resident is a doctor who has completed medical school and is enrolled in a residency training program in a particular specialty. Residents are also referred to as housestaff and work under the careful supervision of attending doctors.
Nurses are a very important part of your care. They work closely with the doctors and other members of the healthcare team. Our nursing team includes the Patient Care Director (PCD), Clinical Nurse Manager, nurse practitioners (NPs), and clinical registered nurses (RNs). The Patient Care Director is responsible for the supervision of all nursing care on a particular unit or units. A clinical registered nurse plans and coordinates your overall nursing care and assigns tasks as appropriate to other members of the nursing team.
Care managers are clinical registered nurses who help you and your loved ones manage your Hospital stay and plan for your return home. Their role is to see that your doctors’ orders are carried out in a timely manner. The care manager may ask you questions about your care and your medical insurance so that you can receive the appropriate benefits covered under your policy.
Unit assistants greet patients and visitors as they arrive on the unit, answer phones, and respond to call bells. They are available to answer your questions and direct you within the unit. If the unit assistant does not know the answer, he or she will find the appropriate person on the unit who can help you.
Nursing Support Staff
Nursing support staff assist the nurses with your care. They perform tasks such as taking your blood pressure, assisting you when walking to the bathroom or in the hallway, providing personal hygiene care, and assisting you with your meals. They work directly with the nursing team to meet your healthcare needs.
Physician Assistants (PAs)
Physician assistants are health professionals who may be members of your healthcare team. Under the supervision of your attending physician, they can deliver a broad range of medical and surgical services, conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, counsel on preventive health care, assist in surgery, and prescribe medications.
Social workers address the emotional issues that come with being in a hospital, provide patient and family counseling, coordinate discharge planning, and offer information about support groups.
Registered dietitians are also professional members of the healthcare team. They plan for your dietary and nutritional needs during your Hospital stay, according to your doctors’ orders. If you require a special diet, your dietitian provides you with information and teaches you how to follow the diet before you go home.
Nutrition hosts take your daily meal orders and deliver your meals to your room.
The Hospital’s physical, occupational, speech-language, and recreation therapists are key members of the healthcare team, providing evaluation and treatment to improve physical, psychosocial, communication, and cognitive abilities of patients following surgery, illness, or injury.
Physical therapists (PTs) focus on functional abilities, helping you regain strength and restore your mobility.
Occupational therapists (OTs) assist patients with regaining physical, cognitive, and psychosocial skills, including managing activities of daily living such as dressing, bathing, and grooming.
Speech-language pathologists evaluate and treat speech, language, and cognitive impairments, address swallowing and feeding problems, and provide voice therapy as needed.
Recreation therapists identify the impact of illness or injury on leisure interests and lifestyle. They individualize treatment plans to develop alternative leisure activities to help with stress management, pain management, emotional support, and self-esteem.
Respiratory therapists treat patients with healthcare issues that affect the heart or lungs, including asthma, emphysema, and pneumonia.
Environmental Services Workers
Environmental services workers are responsible for providing a safe, clean, and comfortable environment for patients and staff, including sanitizing and disinfecting appropriate areas.
Patient transporters are staff members who transport you to and from tests and procedures in the Hospital. They see that you get to and from your destination safely.
The multifaith chaplains in the Pastoral Care and Education Department are committed to meeting the spiritual, religious, and cultural needs of patients and their loved ones during hospitalization.
Volunteers provide compassionate care to our patients and their loved ones and create a supportive atmosphere for healthcare professionals. They serve throughout the Hospital and lend a helping hand with a wide range of activities. If you feel a volunteer could help you in some way, please let your nurse know.
Mobile Phones for Clinical Communication
Across NewYork-Presbyterian, staff use the latest mobile phone technology to promote clinical collaboration and enhance patient care. These phones – which are labeled as Patient Care Devices – allow staff to quickly access up-todate patient data and communicate with other members of the care team anywhere in the Hospital.
You will be offered a choice of meals from the Hospital menu with specific attention to any dietary restrictions that may be related to your condition or treatment. We can also accommodate special requests for vegetarian, kosher, and other dietary preferences.
Breakfast: 8 am to 9 am
Lunch: 11:45 am to 1:30 pm
Dinner: 5 pm to 6:30 pm
Late trays are available, if necessary. Snacks such as juice, crackers, cereal, and milk are available on each patient care unit.
While you are in the Hospital, ask about all medications you receive and why you are taking those medications. The medications you were taking before you came to the Hospital may change as a result of your admission. NewYork-Presbyterian has a list of medications used at the Hospital. Because of this, some of the medications ordered for you in the Hospital may not be the exact same medications you take at home, but they would be similar.
When you are preparing for discharge, we will help get you back on your home medications when it is appropriate for your condition. Any required prescriptions will be sent electronically to your pharmacy or provided to you before you go home. You will also receive a list of the medications that you will need to take at home. A nurse will review your medications with you before your discharge. Remember to take your written medication instructions home.
Let your doctor and nurse know if you have any allergies, especially to medications, food, and/or to other substances.
A member of your care team will come to your bedside throughout the day to check on your care and comfort needs. If you are awake, the care team member may ask you about your pain level, provide assistance with toileting, check that your room is organized and free of clutter, and answer any questions you or your loved ones may have.
Many inpatient units of the Hospital observe daily designated quiet times to provide you with a quiet, restful environment. During this time, everyone on the unit is asked to keep noise levels to a minimum.
Managing your pain is important and may help with healing. Walking, deep breathing, and physical therapy are easier when your pain is controlled. You should always let your healthcare team and clinical registered nurse know if you are feeling pain. Your healthcare team will ask you to describe your pain and pain level. You may be asked to rate your pain on a scale of “0 to 10” or to choose a “face” on a scale that indicates your level of pain. This will also help your healthcare team determine if your treatment or medication should be changed. If you feel your pain relief is not acceptable, tell your nurse immediately.
Patient Blood Management
NewYork-Presbyterian has a robust blood management program designed to prevent unnecessary transfusions and safely administer those that are needed. Still, there are risks associated with transfusions. During your inpatient stay, various blood management initiatives are in place to help conserve your blood, prevent anemia, and reduce the likelihood that a blood transfusion will be required. Feel free to speak to your physician about transfusion indications or alternatives to transfusion. If a blood transfusion is not an option for you for religious or other reasons, please alert your physician or nurse and note this on your consent form.
Therapy Dog Program – NYP Paws for Patients
NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia has a therapy dog program through which qualified dogs visit patients who have received permission from their doctors. Therapy dog visits have been shown to provide a number of benefits to patients, including reducing stress, relieving depression, lowering blood pressure, and helping with pain management through distraction. This program is available only in clinically approved areas. If you would like to arrange a special visit with a therapy dog, please let your nurse know. This service is complimentary.
Important Patient Safety Information
At NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, we want to work closely with you to make your care safe. By being actively involved in your care, asking questions, and speaking up, you will help us to achieve optimum outcomes.
Be Actively Involved in Your Care
Your healthcare team will keep you informed about your care. They will listen to your concerns, answer your questions, and explain your treatment plan. If English is not your primary language, we can provide an interpreter for you free of charge. Upon discharge, you will receive written instructions about how to care for yourself at home.
Ask Questions and Speak Up
- Actively participate in decisions about your treatment.
- Ask questions about your care and treatment.
- Ask questions about your discharge instructions.
- Tell us if you do not understand what we are saying to you.
- Ask for an interpreter if you prefer to communicate in a language other than English.
Keep Your Healthcare Team Informed
- Share your medical history, including medications taken, with your healthcare team.
- Tell us about your medical problems and prior surgeries.
- Tell us if you have any allergies.
- Tell us who your support person is.
Expect Healthcare Team Members to Check and Recheck Your Identification Band
Wear your Hospital identification (ID) band at all times while you are in the Hospital. Our staff will review the information on your Hospital ID band before giving you any medications; before tests, procedures, and X-rays; and when delivering your food tray. If your ID band comes off or is unreadable, ask us to replace it.
Know Your Medications
While you are in the Hospital, ask about all medications you are given and why they have been prescribed for you. A clinical registered nurse will review your medication(s) with you. Remember to take your written medication instructions home.
Use Your Call Button
There is a red button on the television remote control, which may be used to call for help whenever it is needed. Call buttons are also located in all bathrooms.
Your safety is our top priority. For your protection, we strive to make every effort to prevent falls during your Hospital stay. This includes placing your call button within reach, helping you get out of bed, and taking you for walks on the unit. If you are at risk for falling, we will take extra precautions. You will receive additional education on preventing falls that is important for you to follow.
You are at higher risk for a fall in the Hospital due to the new, unfamiliar environment and medications that may be newly prescribed for you. Many patient falls occur when a patient attempts to walk to the bathroom without assistance. Do not attempt to walk to the bathroom alone. Please call for assistance.
Help Prevent Falls
- Call for help before getting out of bed or a chair.
- Keep your call button close to you. Let us know if you cannot reach it.
- Wear Hospital-provided non-skid socks or your shoes when you walk around.
- Check that the brakes are locked before getting in or out of a wheelchair.
- If you wear eyeglasses, make sure they are on before you get out of bed.
- Follow instructions to help prevent falls.
Preventing infections is very important. There are steps you and your care team can take to prevent infections while you are in the Hospital.
Practice Hand Hygiene
Keeping hands clean is the best way to prevent infections in the Hospital and at home. All members of your care team are required to clean their hands before and after each time they have contact with you. The care team can use either hand sanitizer or soap and water.
If you are not sure whether a member of your care team has cleaned his or her hands, please ask. They will be glad that you reminded them.
Follow Visitor Guidelines
We want you to help prevent the spread of infection, too. Visitors should clean their hands when they arrive and before they leave the Hospital for the day. Ask your visitors to clean their hands before they enter and after they leave your room. If your family members, loved ones, or friends have a cold, cough, fever, or rash, please ask them not to visit until they are better.
Know About Infections You Can Get in the Hospital and How to Prevent Them
These are some of the types of infections that can happen while in the Hospital:
- Central line-associated blood stream infections sometimes happen when you have a special IV in order to undergo medical tests or receive certain medications. The care team should remove the central line as soon as medically advisable to help prevent this type of infection.
- Catheter-associated urinary tract infections sometimes happen when you have a urinary catheter. The care team should remove the catheter as soon as medically advisable to help prevent this type of infection.
- Surgical site infections can happen after surgery. Most patients who have surgery do not get an infection. If you do get an infection, it can usually be treated with antibiotics. Your surgical team will take many steps to prevent this type of infection from developing.
- Multi-drug resistant organism (MDRO) infection is a type of infection that can affect any part of the body. MDRO is caused by bacteria that are hard to treat with most antibiotics. Sometimes MDRO infections happen because of treatment with antibiotics. If you have an MDRO infection, you may be placed in a single room on isolation to prevent the spread of bacteria to others.
Rapid Response Team
A Rapid Response Team is a special Hospital team that can be called by your clinical registered nurse if your condition changes quickly. The Rapid Response Team consists of at least two of the following healthcare professionals: critical care nurse, physician, physician assistant, nurse practitioner, and respiratory therapist. The Rapid Response Team works closely with your primary physician and clinical registered nurse to provide care. The team can be called any time of the day or night. If you have questions about the Rapid Response Team, please talk to your clinical registered nurse or physician.
Patient Services Administration (212) 305-5904
Patient Services Administration provides a central location for patients and their loved ones to voice their opinions — both positive and negative — about any aspect of Hospital care or services. Our Patient Services team can help you and your loved ones with questions, requests, complaints, or grievances. They also can explain Hospital policy and procedures, and take appropriate steps to see that your rights as a patient are respected.
Patient Services staff are trained in managing the issues that can have an impact on the quality of the patient experience. Patient Services staff are also available to educate patients and their loved ones about advance directives and address any ethical concerns that may arise during a patient’s stay.
The Hospital has an Ethics Committee, and its representatives are available to you, your loved ones, and Hospital staff for help when ethical issues relating to care arise. The Ethics Committee can provide counsel in areas such as ventilator use, feeding tubes, and dialysis. Please speak with your nurse, doctor, social worker, chaplain, or a representative from Patient Services Administration for more information.
Pastoral Care (212) 305-5817
Office Hours: Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm
An on-call chaplain is available seven days a week, 24 hours a day.
The multifaith chaplains in the Pastoral Care and Education Department are committed to meeting the spiritual, religious, and cultural needs of patients and their loved ones during hospitalization. If you would like to speak with a chaplain during your Hospital stay, please let a member of the staff know or call the Department directly.
Two interfaith chapels are available for prayer and meditation. The Milstein Chapel, located on the second floor near the elevator bank, is open from 6 am to 10 pm. The Pauline A. Hartford Chapel, located on the first floor of the Presbyterian Hospital Building, is open 24 hours daily. Current worship schedules are available from the Pastoral Care and Education Department.