Patients Guide

Advance Directives

You have the right to make choices regarding your health care. You can prepare for the possibility that you will be unable to make health care decisions by making your wishes known in advance. Your wishes can be communicated through “advance directives.” You have the right to name someone else to make health care decisions for you when you cannot. You can do this by completing a power of attorney for health care. In this document, you can name an adult relative or friend that you trust as your “agent” to speak for you when you are too sick to make your own decisions. After you chose your agent, be sure that your agent understands your wishes and will be comfortable communicating your wishes should the need arise.

The types of decisions your agent can make include to approval or disapproval of tests, procedures and medications; selection and discharge of a provider or institution; directions to provide, withhold/withdraw artificial nutrition and hydration, and all other forms of health care.

If you wish, you can limit the type of decisions your agent can make for you. You can also give an advance directive about when you would or would not want medical treatment. You can indicate when you would choose to prolong life, whether you wish to be kept free of pain, even if it were to speed up death, or any other special wishes you have regarding your healthcare. Please discuss your wishes with your physicians, especially your primary care physician.

You can also give an advance directive as to which, if any, organs you would like to donate in the event of your death. You do not have to have a written advance directive. You may communicate your wishes to your physicians and nurses, and ask them to write down your wishes in the chart. However, your wishes will probably be clearer and more likely to be accepted by your family and others, if your write them down. For more information about advance directives, please ask to speak with the case manager. Please call 760-241-8000 ext. 8331 or you can email Margarette Jackson at

Concerns and Complaints

If you are concerned about something whether it is your care, your room, your meals, your testing schedule, your visitors or anything else – please let us know without delay. We will do our best. Be assured that you can speak to your caregivers in confidence. If you would rather not talk about your problem with your nurse, you may meet with the supervisor or manager on your unit for a confidential discussion of your concern.

Please be assured that the presentation of a complaint or concern will not compromise your treatment. Our goal is to provide healthcare that is supportive of patient and family wishes, recognizing that situations and decision-making can, at times, cause conflicts in the course of healthcare delivery.

We, of course, also appreciate compliments. “Customer Care Chain” cards are available on every unit for your remarks. You may receive a patient satisfaction survey at home, after you are discharged. Please return it to us in the postage-paid envelope with your comments so that we can maintain the highest standards in our patient services.

Patient Family Grievance

Anytime your concerns are not resolved to your satisfaction, you may also contact our Patient Relations Department at ext. 8000. They will work with all hospital departments to investigate your complaint and assist you in handling your concern. If this is not to your satisfaction, you may file your complaint with the Department of Public Health by calling (909) 383-4777.

The Bioethics Committee

Sometimes a difficult choice must be made from two or more alternatives, none of which completely provides a satisfactory answer. The Bioethics Committee is composed of physicians and hospital staff members and it functions as an advisory body to Desert Valley Hospital regarding ethical and moral issues which arise in the provision of medical care. Access to the Ethics Committee is available to patients and their families. Ask your nurse for access. If the problem is with him or her, then ask for the department manager or their supervisor; and request an ethical consultation. A representative from the Bioethics Committee will discuss your concerns with you and contact the appropriate health team members for further consultation, if needed.

Pastoral Services

It is the goal of Desert Valley Hospital to meet the emotional and spiritual needs of patients and families. At your request, our hospital chaplains are available to meet with you for prayer, sacraments, counseling or a friendly visit. Your own clergy person is also invited to visit you at any time. If you don’t belong to a congregation, but would like to speak to a spiritual leader from a particular denomination, please ask your nurse to arrange such a visit.

Medical Social Work

Our Medical Social Work Department is a part of the total healthcare team that is working to assure that the support and compassionate care our patients and families need during hospitalization is there. We can assist you and your family in dealing with emotional, social and/or economic stresses which may occur as a result of illness and hospitalization. We are also specialists in identifying the many community, state and federal resources that may be of help to you in the weeks ahead. If you need help in sorting out your needs, ask your nurse to contact a social worker for you.

Organ and Tissue Donations

When someone dies, it is often possible for other lives to be saved or made better through the donation of their organs and tissues. We realize that the death of a loved one is a very difficult time and take this into consideration when discussing the possibility of donation. Desert Valley Hospital is required by law to discuss the option of organ/tissue donation with the next-of-kin of every patient who may be suitable for donation. Many families have taken comfort in this difficult time in knowing that someone else’s life was made better through the donation of their loved ones’ organs/tissues.

Informed Consent

You have the right to be informed about any procedures, tests, or operations to be performed on you. It is expected that the physician will talk with you about the benefits of your treatments and will explain the risks, complications and/or unanticipated outcomes that could happen, as well as other treatment that could help you.

Pain Management

Pain management is an important part of your care. You have the right to expect that pain will be identified, addressed, and treated. Good pain control allows you to feel more rested, more in control and speeds up your recovery. We, here at Desert Valley Hospital, feel responsible to listen to your concerns about pain. Even though it is not always possible to provide you with complete pain relief, controlling your pain will help you to be more comfortable.

This will allow you to move easier after your surgery or procedure, help prevent complications, and can even shorten your hospital stay. We will help you make reasonable and desirable pain relief goals. One of the most important things you can do is tell us about your pain. Sometimes people assume we can tell they are having pain, but this is not always true. Only you know when you are in pain, how bad it is, and what it feels like.

When you describe the intensity, type, location and duration of your pain, you help us to do a better job of caring for you. Your healthcare providers will listen to the way you describe your pain and how you think it will be relieved to help them decide what medicine or other pain relief measures to use.

Medical Records

The records of your hospital stay are kept in the hospital Medical Records Department. You have been issued a unique medical record number and all of your records will be compiled into a unit record under that number. If you have a need for a copy of your record for personal use, there is a nominal charge. We will be happy to copy your record for any physician who is to provide continued medical care for your well being at no charge. Although we are staffed seven days a week for the processing of records, we are only open to the public from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. We are closed evenings, weekends and holidays. The direct telephone line to the Medical Records Department is (760) 843-5160.

Security/ Life Safety

To ensure the safety and well being of patients, visitors and employees, the hospital continually monitors and tests a wide range of security and life-safety measures. You may hear overhead announcements for drills and other messages. Be assured that your nurse will monitor these announcements and inform you of any pertinent information.

Your well being is of primary importance to us. For this reason, we have equipped your bed with side rails to keep you safe when you are medicated or asleep. Please ask for assistance if you wish to lower or raise them. When you get out of bed, please don’t rely on your bedside table for support. It can shift under your weight. We also ask that you wear non-skid slippers when walking around the unit, and that you request assistance when getting in or out of a bed or chair, unless otherwise instructed by your nurse or doctor.

Behavior Support

There may be times during your hospitalization that you feel confused or disoriented due to your illness or the medications you are taking. Our hospital staff is trained to assist you in maintaining a safe environment for yourself and those around you. If it appears you may cause harm to yourself or others, physical restraints may be considered. Alternate methods shall be attempted prior to the application of restraints. Physical restraints include vests or wrist and/or ankle wraps to ensure your safety and the safety of those caring for you. Every effort will be made to ensure that your dignity and privacy are respected, and your family will be informed of the necessity to use restraint measures.

Desert Valley Hospital is committed to providing a safe hospitalization experience for all patients, and a restraint free environment. Ongoing assessments will be conducted to evaluate alternatives to physical restraints. A restrained patient will be closely monitored to ensure his or her safety. Every effort will be made to remove the restraints as soon as possible.

Infection Control

It is important that all visitors adhere to hospital visiting and isolation practices. Visitors with signs of a communicable disease or infection (including colds and flu) should not visit patients who are hospitalized. All visitors should refrain from sitting on the patient’s bed, using the patients’ bathroom and handling the patient’s personal belongings. Remember hand washing is the single most important means of preventing the spread of infection.

If a patient has a contagious disease, special isolation precautions will be initiated and only adult family members will be permitted to visit. To protect patients and guests, all visitors will receive instruction on isolation procedures prior to entering an isolation room, including the use of gloves, gowns, masks and other protective furnishings.

Patient Assessments

You’ll receive a comprehensive initial assessment within 8 hours of your admission, including a physical, psychological, social, spiritual and functional evaluation. This information will help us to identify and prioritize your overall treatment plan. The scope, intensity and timeliness of further assessments will be defined by your healthcare team based on your diagnosis, care setting, desire for care and response to previous treatment. An assessment of your discharge planning needs will also begin within 8 hours of your admission. Discharge planning is a collaborative process and will involve you, your family and qualified individuals of the healthcare team.


Because we provide healthcare services to people with culturally diverse backgrounds, we maintain a list of hospital personnel who are fluent in many different languages including American Sign Language. If you need their help in understanding any aspect of your care – or in expressing your concerns -your nurse will arrange for their assistance. There is no charge for this service.


During your hospitalization, all necessary medications will be prescribed for you by your physician. For this reason, you should leave all other prescriptions and over-the-counter preparations at home, unless your physician advised you otherwise. Even a simple aspirin can interfere with the way certain therapies work, so please notify your nurse if you’ve brought any medications with you. We are interested in all medications you are taking at home, and will ask you what they are as part of your initial assessment. It is always helpful if you have a written list of names, times and doses of medication you are using, including those prescribed by a specialist, such as eye drops or topical creams.


To provide a healthful and comfortable environment for all patients and visitors, Desert Valley Hospital maintains a smoke free environment. Patients and visitors are not allowed to smoke anywhere in the hospital, including the cafeteria, restrooms or lounges. Smoking is also prohibited on the grounds, except where designated by signage, for patients only.

Patient and Family Education

We believe that patient education is one of the most important ways every patient can help their own recovery. Knowing what is wrong with you and what treatments are available, allow you to help make the decisions about your care that you want. We know that everyone has his or her own ways of learning. We want to help you learn about your condition in the easiest way possible. You will be asked questions about how you learn best, if you have any religious or cultural beliefs that will affect our teaching. The types of topics we want to cover include how to be safe, nutrition, how to safely take your medicines, how to use any equipment you need and any questions you have about your diagnosis.

Condition Reports

When friends call to inquire about your condition, the call will be directed to your room. More detailed information can be released to one immediate family member designated by you. If you’d prefer that we withhold all information, including your condition and location within the hospital, please notify your nurse.

Your Environment

A big part of getting settled is becoming acquainted with your new surroundings. Your room is where you will spend most of your time, and it is designed to be as cheerful and pleasant as possible, while allowing for comfort and safety. If your accommodations are semi-private, please be considerate of your roommate’s needs, and limit your visitors and activities accordingly.

The Call System

There is a call button at your bedside and a pull cord in the bathroom to summon assistance. Just press the button or pull the cord and a staff member will respond in person or by intercom. Please don’t hesitate to use it if you have questions or need help.


Keeping in touch with loved ones is important, especially when you are ill. For your convenience, there is a private phone on your bedside table. Your extension number is your room number, with the exception of specialty areas such as LDRP, ICU, etc. If friends or family want to reach you, they can call (760) 241-8000 and ask the operator to connect them to your room. Special amplifying devices for those hearing impaired are available upon request.

Cellular Telephones

Cellular telephone use is prohibited while in the hospital building, as it may interfere with patient monitoring and other medical equipment.


Sometimes the days can seem long, when you are in the hospital. For your comfort, your room is equipped with a television set. To hear television programs, change channels, and tune into radio stations, use the bedside control. Special channels are available in certain areas; for example, LDRP has the Newborn Channel.

Personal Valuables and Belongings

Desert Valley Hospital cannot be responsible for valuables that you keep in your possession. You should leave your jewelry, money (large sum), wallets and purses at home to ensure their safekeeping. Please be alert concerning your belongings such as dentures, contact lenses, eyeglasses, hearing aids and comparable personal belongings. Please store these items carefully when not in use. Never leave them on a meal tray or wrap them in tissue paper. If you forget to leave your valuables at home and do not wish to entrust them to a friend or relative, they may be deposited in the Desert Valley Hospital safe for safekeeping. Ask your nurse for assistance.

Personal Equipment

The hospital maintains strict safety requirements on all electrical and battery operated appliances used in the patient care environment. No personal electrical devices are allowed, including hair dryers, curling irons, electric shavers, radios and similar equipment. The operation of cellular phones is not allowed anywhere in the building for patient safety.


Breakfast is usually served by a health team member between 7:30 and 8:00 a.m. Lunch is delivered between 12:00 and 12:30 p.m. Dinner usually arrives between 5:00 and 6:00 p.m. Snacks are available upon request and are served at 10:00 a.m., 3:00 p.m., and 8:00 p.m., if your diet is not restricted.

Food Service

Proper nutrition can be as crucial to your health as the right therapy or medication. In fact, food can play such an important role in your recovery that your diet is personally prescribed by your physician and carefully planned by a registered dietitian. All patients will receive a menu listing several approved selections for breakfast, lunch and dinner (except those patients in ICU or LDRP). A guest tray is also available upon request. Please feel free to ask your nurse questions regarding your meals.


Our housekeeping staff makes sure your room is neat and clean each day. They’re especially sensitive to your needs for privacy and quiet and try to complete their tasks discreetly, with as little disturbance as possible. If you have any special housekeeping requests, please let one of our staff members know.

Mail, Flowers and Newspapers

If you are going to be with us for more than a day, your loved ones may want to send you flowers and cards wishing you a speedy recovery. Mail should be addressed to your name and room number. A volunteer or staff member will deliver flowers to your room as soon as they arrive with the exception of specialty areas, such as ICU or Step Down(DOU). Those patients may receive flowers after they are transferred to the medical or surgical floor. Mail will be delivered to your room. If you are not there, it will be left on your bedside table. Mail received after you leave the hospital will be sent to your forwarding address. Newspapers are available by request from the volunteers. You may call the volunteer desk to have a paper brought to you free of charge.

Case Management

Case Managers are experienced professionals who collaboratively monitor and coordinate your care while assessing your needs on an ongoing basis during your stay at Desert Valley Hospital. They work closely with your physician and the healthcare team, as well as your insurer, to assure you receive the highest quality care. Your Case Manager will work with you and your family to arrange for appropriate post discharge needs.

Discharge Planning

The first thing most people think about when they enter a hospital is, “When can I go Home?” Going home from the hospital or to another facility can present special needs and challenges. If you have any special concerns regarding your needs after leaving the hospital, please let your nurse or any member of your healthcare team know as early as possible. Your healthcare team begins developing and formulating a plan with you for your discharge early in your hospital stay. A variety of healthcare team members will help minimize any problems and assist you in transitioning from one level of care to another. In collaboration with you, your family and the physician, your case manager, discharge planner, social worker and nurse can assist in arranging the appropriate after-hospital services you may need. These services may include home healthcare, skilled nursing facilities, and/or resources to enhance the success of your hospital stay.

Leaving the Hospital

When you and your doctor decide you are ready, you will leave the hospital to continue your recovery at home or at a transitional facility. Before you go, your physician and nurse will review your discharge papers and discuss your post-hospital care with you and your family. Make sure you understand your physician’s instructions. The entire healthcare team is available to assist in answering your questions. Don’t forget to arrange for a ride home with a relative or friend well in advance of your discharge.

Home Health

If extended care is necessary after you are discharged, your doctor can request assistance through the case management department. Ask your nurse or health care provider for details.