Inpatient Guide for Cancer Patients
Here at Westchester Medical Center the workday is organized in two 12½ hour shifts:
Days: 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Nights: 7 p.m. to 7:30 a.m.
We want you to be aware that for about 30 minutes at the change of each shift, nurses are involved in reporting events that occurred for each of their assigned patients to nurses on the incoming shift.
- Vital Signs
Your temperature, pulse, respiratory rate and blood pressure (which we call "vital signs") will be taken routinely during the day at 12 a.m. (midnight), 6 a.m., 12 p.m. (noon) and 6 p.m. (or more frequently if required). Patients are weighed each morning before breakfast.
The Oncology team makes rounds every morning between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. Please be aware that your doctor works together with the other doctors on the Oncology team. Each month they rotate doing daily rounds. While in the hospital you may see another oncologist who is in contact with your doctor.
Discharge time is 10 a.m. Please arrange for transportation. We will make our best efforts to notify you of your discharge the day before to help you plan accordingly and make arrangements for transportation home.
Hospital meals are served at these approximate times:
Breakfast: 9 to 9:30 a.m.
Lunch: 12:30 to 1 p.m.
Dinner: 5:30 to 6 p.m.
Most patients will follow a "neutropenic" diet. Generally this diet does not allow fresh fruit with thin skin, vegetables or uncooked meats. Please ask your nurse or dietician for more information.
Do not keep open food and drinks at the bedside for longer than 12 hours after opening. This can be a source of infection.
Patients with cancer have unique infection control and safety needs because both the illness and its treatment can increase the risks of infection and other hazards. In addition to hospital-wide safety procedures like strict hand washing, the Oncology unit takes some additional precautions to keep you safe. These are important for you to know and practice.
- Fresh or dried flowers and plants are not allowed on the Oncology unit as they pose a risk for infection.
- There is no smoking allowed anywhere inside the hospital or adjacent to hospital entrances.
- Patients who have low white blood cell counts will be instructed to wear a specially designed mask when they leave their rooms. Your nurse will inform you if you have to wear one.
- Please do not throw any garbage into the designated bright yellow chemotherapy bins that are located in each patient room. Please put garbage in the tan garbage containers.
- To minimize the risk of bleeding when platelet counts are low, patients are not allowed to use razors or hard bristle toothbrushes. You can use electric shavers and mouth sponges or a soft toothbrush. Please ask the nurse for the mouth sponges. You can bring a soft bristle toothbrush from home.
- Patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment are at risk for mouth sores. We encourage each patient to rinse with saline throughout the day and to cleanse the mouth with a soft bristle toothbrush or mouth sponge after meals. This helps to minimize risk of infection and mouth sores. Please ask your nurse for a bottle of saline for rinsing.
- When using the call bell, please state your specific need so that the unit clerk knows what type of assistance you need and who can provide it.
- The bathrooms are for patient use only. Visitor bathrooms are located directly across from the visitor elevators on each floor.