Advance directives are instruments that allow you to provide guidance about the type of care you would like to receive if you are unable to communicate your choices personally. The terms "living will" and "durable power of attorney for health care" refer to types of directives.

Through an advance directive, you may provide special instructions about your care. You may also designate another person to make health care decisions in your place.

When you are admitted, your nurse will ask if you have an advance directive. If you do, please provide copies to your doctor and nurse to place in your medical record. Religion-sensitive directives and living wills are available from the chaplain's office. We will be happy to help you complete an advance directive at any time during your stay. If you do not have one, your nurse or social worker can assist you with information and provide you with the necessary sample documents.


Ethics Committee

The Ethics Committee at Sinai supports patients and their loved ones who may be experiencing troubling ethical problems during a hospital stay. The Ethics Committee includes doctors, nurses, social workers, other health care providers, clergy and community members.

The committee can assist in the discussion of medical treatment choices. The committee can also provide guidance and support for decisions by patients, families and health care providers. Anyone may request the services of the Ethics Committee by calling the Social Work office at extension 5578, weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or by paging the hospital operations coordinator at extension 5901 after 5 p.m. on weekdays, weekends and holidays.


Access to Medical Records

As a patient, you have the right to review your medical records.

If you are currently hospitalized, please make the request to review your medical records to your doctor or nurse. The nurse will tell your doctor and document the request in your medical records. You are then entitled to review the records in the presence of your physician or designee. Sinai staff will document in your medical records the date and time of review, as well as the name(s) of the individual(s) with whom you have reviewed your records. You and your designee(s) will then sign the note.

If you are under psychiatric care, you need the authorization of your psychiatrist or designee for release of your medical records. If your request is denied, a summary from your psychiatrist may be obtained by written request.

Once you are discharged from Sinai, you may make a written request to our Health Information Management department to have a copy of your medical records released. Please indicate your name and address, date of birth, date of treatment, the information you would like released, and where you want the information sent. Please sign and date this letter. You may make your request in person or by mail. If you make the request by mail, please send it to:

Sinai Hospital of Baltimore
Health Information Management Department
2401 West Belvedere Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21215-5271


Pastoral Care and Chaplaincy Services

Meeting spiritual needs is an important part of the healing process. To this end, Sinai accommodates the spiritual needs of individuals of all faiths. Requests for visits from clergy may be made with the Office of Pastoral Care and Chaplaincy Services at extension 9680. During evenings and weekends, please contact the hospital operations coordinator by calling extension 5901.

The non-denominational Jill Fox Meditation Room is located on the first floor. It is always open with Bibles and devotional materials available. There is also a Chapel/Meditation Room in the Emergency Center.

A Jewish chapel, located in the first-floor corridor between the Weinberg Pavilion and the Blaustein Building, is used for weekday (Monday through Thursday) Mincha services. It is always open for prayer and meditation.


Resolving Concerns

It is Sinai Hospital's intent to provide outstanding customer service to our patients and their families. We understand that there may be times when you have a concern or issue that you want to have addressed by the hospital. Your first contact about these issues and concerns should be with the nurse manager of the unit where you received care. If you wish to speak to someone outside of the unit, you may contact:

Patient and Family Services
410-601-8778
Monday through Friday
9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

or write to:

Patient and Family Services
Sinai Hospital
2401 W. Belvedere Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21215

You may leave a voicemail message at any time, including evenings and weekends, and someone will get back to you no later than the next business day. If during weekends, evening hours or holidays you have a concern of an immediate nature, you may ask the hospital operator to contact the administrative nursing coordinator who will help you with your concern.

Although speaking with someone at the hospital will provide you with the most immediate feedback and assistance, should you wish to discuss your concerns with someone outside of the hospital, you have the right to contact the

Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
Office of Healthcare Quality
7120 Samuel Morse Drive, Second Floor
Columbia, Maryland 21046-3422
410-402-8015

or the

Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations
Office of Quality Monitoring
One Renaissance Boulevard
Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181
800-994-6610


Patient Safety and Quality Care

At Sinai Hospital, nothing is more important to us than providing quality care to our patients in a safe and nurturing environment. Our standards for clinical quality flow from the evidence-based best practices of medical facilities nationwide. These best-practice guidelines are designed to minimize variation in our clinical processes and improve outcomes for our patients.

Safety Tips and Tools for Patients and Families

As our patient, you are the most important member of the health care system. We all work together to make your care safe. Here is how you can participate:

  • Ask questions. Questions help you stay informed.

  • Ask a trusted family member or friend to be your advocate.

  • If you don't understand something, ask again. Also, speak up if something doesn't seem right.

  • Review instructions with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist. You can say, "I want to make sure I know how to care for myself at home."

  • Repeat the instructions given to you as you understood them.

Pre-Procedure Checklist

Sinai Hospital Pre-Procedure Checklist is a process to ensure that wrong-person, wrong-procedure, wrong-site surgery never happens at Sinai Hospital. For your safety, you will be asked your name, your date of birth, what procedure you are having, and what site is being operated on multiple times before your surgery or procedure. Then a patient identification bracelet will be placed on your wrist.

Before Your Procedure

  • Bring an up-to-date list of all medications you take with you to the hospital. The list should include all over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, vitamins and dietary supplements you take.

  • Do NOT shave near your surgical site. Shaving can cause irritation, which may contribute to infection.

  • Remove all jewelry, including rings and body piercing before you come to the hospital.

  • Make sure your surgeon, nurse and anesthesia provider are asking your name, date of birth, what procedure you are having and what site is being operated on. Please speak up if someone forgets to ask you.

Preventing Infections: Handwashing

To protect yourself and your family, especially during cold and flu season, use soap and water or hand sanitizer. Below are the steps you should take when washing your hands with:

Soap:

  • Turn on water to a lukewarm temperature.

  • Hot water is not recommended as it dries the skin and increases the risk for contact dermatitis.

  • Rings, watches and other hand jewelry should be removed.

  • Wet hands with running water and apply soap and spread over all surfaces of the hands.

  • Hold hands and forearms lower than the elbows during the procedure.

  • Wash hands and wrists vigorously for at least 15 or more seconds, paying particular attention to areas between fingers, thumbs and around and under fingernails.

  • Rinse hands thoroughly under running water to remove soap.

  • Pat dry hands thoroughly with paper towel.

  • Use paper towel to turn off faucet to avoid re-contaminating the hands.

  • Discard towel in a regular trash can.

Waterless Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer:

  • Apply to intact, dry hands that are free of visible debris and/or organic matter.

  • Apply sufficient amount into palms to cover all surfaces of hands, fingers and thumb thoroughly.

  • Rub hands together, covering the entire surface of the hands and fingers, including nails until dry.

  • Allow the alcohol to totally evaporate from the skin to maximize effectiveness and decrease irritation.

  • Do not wipe off with a paper towel or rinse off with water or fan the hands to speed drying.

  • If there is no running water, remove visible soil with a wipe, then use the alcohol-based hand rub.

Preventing Falls

Sinai Hospital is committed to reducing patient falls and educating patients and their families/caregivers about fall risk reduction strategies. As part of the Sinai Hospital fall prevention program, the nursing staff assesses each patient every day for risk of falling. If you are identified as being at risk, the nurses will implement a variety of interventions to decrease the risk of falling.

These interventions include things like:

  • A yellow wristband and yellow slippers. These things remind you, your family and hospital staff that you may need help walking or getting out of bed.

  • Using an alarm system that will notify staff if you get out of bed without help.

  • Offering you the chance to use the bathroom regularly.

In the hospital, you are in unfamiliar surroundings. Getting around is not the same as it is at home. You may be taking medications that make you sleepy or disoriented. You may be connected to IVs or other medical equipment.

Please take the following precautions to prevent falls during your stay:

  • Ask for assistance from the nursing staff as needed.

  • Ask a staff member to make sure your call button, telephone and other personal items are near you.

  • Ask your nurse to make sure that your bed is in the lowest position.

  • Sit at the edge of the bed for a few minutes before getting up to avoid feeling dizzy.

  • Wear non-skid footwear.

  • Make sure you have adequate light to see.

  • Ask a staff member to assist you with, or move, any equipment before you get out of bed.

  • Use your hearing aid, glasses, walker or cane.

  • Report any spills or objects that are on the floor.