We have policies and procedures in place to help you and your family work with our doctors, nurses and staff to get the most from your hospital stay. Please take a few minutes to review these guidelines with your loved ones.

Advance directives

Advance care planning, also known as advance directive, living will, personal directive, medical directive or advance decision, is a process that defines your goals and wishes as they relate to health care. By having an advance directive, you can help clinicians and loved ones understand your needs and wishes in the event you are unable to communicate for yourself. Main Line Health provides all patients with a six-step advance care planning guide to help you with this process. To learn more, talk to your doctor or visit mainlinehealth.org/acp to download our free advance care planning guide.

Note: You must provide a new advance directive each time you are readmitted or you must validate that any advance directive the hospital may have on file for you from a previous hospital admission is your most up-to-date document. In this way, you ensure the hospital has your most current information.

Integrative services

We strive to make every patient as relaxed and comfortable as possible while receiving medical care at our hospitals. To do this, we offer a number of healing therapies that have been shown to speed recovery and reduce symptoms such as pain, anxiety, fatigue and depression. Our integrative therapies include reiki, aromatherapy, pet therapy and therapeutic music. Just talk to one of your nurses about the options available.

Interpretation services

Stratus video remote interpretation provides access to interpreters for more than 200 languages including American Sign Language. Please notify your nurse if you need interpretation. Amplified handsets and telecommunications devices for the deaf (TDD) are also available.

Inpatient vs. observation status

Medicare and other insurers require determination of patient admission and observation status to be based on complex clinical criteria set at the national level. The medical oversight and treatment you receive will be the same whether your status is observation or inpatient. Observation is an outpatient service (Part B for Medicare patients). Generally, this means you pay a copayment for each individual outpatient hospital service. This amount may vary. For non-Medicare patients, please check with your insurance company. Inpatient admission is billed under inpatient services (Part A for Medicare patients). For additional questions about observation status, please contact our care management department at:

Pain management

Your doctors, nurses and other caregivers want to help relieve your pain. It’s important for them to know about your pain and whether your pain is improving or getting worse, and whether your medications are working or not. That’s why they will constantly ask questions about your pain—because pain changes over time, or your pain medicine may not be working. Be sure to tell them that you have pain, even if they don’t ask. You may find some of these words useful in describing your pain:

  • Aching
  • Bloating
  • Burning
  • Comes and goes
  • Constant
  • Cramping
  • Cutting
  • Dull
  • Numbing
  • Pressing/pressure
  • Pulling
  • Radiating
  • Searing
  • Sharp
  • Shooting
  • Soreness
  • Stabbing
  • Throbbing
  • Tightness

If you are taking pain medicine—whether over-the-counter or prescribed by a doctor—this should be included on your list of medicines or medication card. Even pain medicine that you will take for a short time should be listed with all of your other medicines.

Different ways to manage pain

There are other ways to treat pain without taking medicine. Your doctor will work with you to find out what works best for you depending on your illness or condition and how much pain you have. Some other treatments for pain are:

  • Acupuncture, which uses small needles to block pain
  • Taking your mind off pain with movies, games and conversation
  • Electrical nerve stimulation, which uses small jolts of electricity to block pain
  • Physical therapy
  • Exercise
  • Hypnosis
  • Heat or cold
  • Massage
  • Relaxation

Questions to ask your caregivers about your pain medicine

  • What pain medicine is being ordered or given?
  • What are the doses and times that the medicine needs to be taken?
  • How often should I take the medicine?
  • How long will I need to take the pain medicine?
  • Can I take the pain medicine with food?
  • Can I take the pain medicine with my other medicines?
  • Should I avoid drinking alcohol while taking the pain medicine?
  • What are the side effects of the pain medicine?
  • What should I do if the medicine makes me sick to my stomach?
  • What can I do if the pain medicine is not working?
  • What else can I do to help treat my pain?
  • Will I become addicted?

Medication safety

It is important to talk with your doctor up front about how long you will need to take narcotic pain medication (e.g., opioids such as hydrocodone and oxycodone). Please do not take your medication in higher doses or for longer than necessary to treat your pain. If you have or have had a substance use disorder, be sure to talk to your doctor about your concerns. We want you to be as comfortable as possible while also keeping you safe.

Substance use disorder is a condition in which the misuse and/or overuse of substances can lead to chemical dependency or the inability to stop, cut down and control your usage despite several attempts. This is characterized by symptoms of physical withdrawal, thought impairment and disruption in behavior as well as consequences within relationships, family and life balance. Prolonged use of substances will inevitably lead to dependency due to the impact on brain chemistry. Using alternative techniques to narcotic medications can significantly reduce your risk for long-term reliance on prescription narcotics.

When you return home, if you have pain medication left over, please discard it safely at a designated medication disposal location, rather than leaving it in your medicine cabinet. There is a prescription drug drop box located in:

  • Lankenau Medical Center – Medical Building West/Zone B
  • Paoli Hospital – Valet lobby

Clinical alarm safety

Equipment alarms must remain active at all times and must be loud enough to alert your care team. Patients and families should not attempt to silence, turn down the volume, remove or adjust alarms/equipment themselves. Please do NOT touch them. Call your nurse if there is a concern.

Patient meals

We are pleased to offer our patients the Treat Yourself room service dining menu with natural goodness and fresh ingredients in every meal. Our staff can assist you in making menu selections based on your prescribed diet and can explain any choices unfamiliar to you. If your diet is changed for any reason, our staff will accommodate the change at the next meal.

Your meal may be delayed due to scheduled medical tests or procedures. A courtesy meal tray will be provided when medically allowed after your test or procedure.

  • Lankenau Medical Center – A fresh, healthy meal tray from the Treat Yourself menu will be delivered to your room at your request or you can schedule a delivery time. Call a room service associate at 484.476.3663 between 6:30 am and 6:30 pm to place your order. Your meal will be delivered in approximately 45 minutes. If you currently practice any cultural, religious or medical restrictions in your diet, please inform your nurse or doctor. Although we are not a kosher facility, we do carry a line of kosher meals and can prepare kosher-style meals as requested. Also, please tell us about any food allergies you may have.
  • Bryn Mawr Hospital – A fresh, healthy meal tray from the Treat Yourself menu will be delivered to your room at your request or you can schedule a delivery time. If you currently practice any cultural, religious or medical restrictions in your diet, please inform your nurse or doctor. Although we are not a kosher facility, we do carry a line of kosher meals and can prepare kosher-style meals as requested. Also, please tell us about any food allergies you may have.
    • Gluten-free diets: Patients prescribed a gluten-free diet by a physician will be hand-delivered a gluten-free menu specially created by our executive chef and registered dietitian.
  • Paoli Hospital – A fresh, healthy meal tray from the Treat Yourself menu will be delivered to your room at your request or you can schedule a delivery time. Please use the dining menu at your bedside and call 484.565.8888. Family members may place meal orders for loved ones in the hospital from any location by calling 484.565.8888. Room service is available between the hours of 6:30 am and 6:30 pm, serving breakfast all day and lunch beginning at 11:00 am. You may request meals be delivered within 45 minutes or schedule meals to be delivered at a time that works best for you.
    • Gluten-free diets: The food service department at Paoli Hospital received G.R.E.A.T. (Gluten-free Resource Education and Awareness Training) certification from the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, ensuring the proper serving of gluten-free foods to patients and guests. Patients who are admitted to Paoli and prescribed a gluten-free diet by a physician will be hand-delivered a gluten-free menu specially created by our executive chef and registered dietitian.
  • Riddle Hospital – A fresh, healthy meal tray will be delivered automatically at unit meal times, according to your physician ordered diet if you are not feeling up to making selections. If you currently practice any cultural, religious or medical restrictions in your diet, please inform your nurse or doctor. Although we are not a kosher facility, we do carry a line of kosher meals and can prepare kosher-style meals as requested. Also, please tell us about any food allergies you may have.

Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital – Nourishing, well-balanced meals are an important part of your rehabilitation. We make every effort to provide nutritious meals that are prepared according to your special needs. Meals are served three times daily. Breakfast is served in your room. A menu will be provided to order your meals for the next day. Please mark your menu so it will be ready for pickup. If you are on a special diet prescribed by your doctor, you will receive menus tailored to your specific needs. If you have difficulty selecting from the menu, a member of our dietary staff will be happy to help you. For assistance, you can call 484.596.5496. The patient dining room, on the first floor of the hospital, is open for lunch and dinner and available to patients who are independently able to feed themselves. You can make arrangements with your nurse to have your lunch and dinner delivered to the patient dining room.

Sleep tips for your hospital stay

Sleep is a key part of physical and mental health, as well as recovery from an illness or surgery. Staying in the hospital can interfere with getting enough rest. Here are some tips to help you get enough rest during your hospital stay while permitting you to receive care:

  • Keep your room quiet. If medically appropriate, keep the room door closed.
  • Keep your room dark while you are trying to sleep.
    • Turn the television off while sleeping as it adds light and sound to the room.
    • Keep your shades open and lights on while you are awake.
  • Maintain healthy sleep habits.
    • Limit the amount of caffeine you drink.
    • If allowed, try to be out of bed during the day. If restricted to bed, elevate the head of your bed during the day as much as possible.
    • Try to eat regular meals and have a snack before going to bed.
  • Manage pain by discussing symptoms with your caregivers.
  • Reduce your anxiety by getting the information and reassurance you need from physicians, other clinical staff and family.

Room temperature

At Lankenau Medical Center, Bryn Mawr Hospital, Riddle Hospital and Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital, all rooms in the hospital are centrally heated and air-conditioned. If your room temperature is not comfortable, please notify the nursing staff.

At Paoli Hospital, all patient rooms in the hospital have individual temperature controls for heat and air-conditioning. If your room temperature is not comfortable, please notify the nursing staff.

Housekeeping services

Patient rooms are cleaned and sanitized daily by our Environmental Services staff. In addition, every effort is made to make sure you are comfortable and that everything in your room is in proper working order. At Paoli Hospital, if you experience any cleanliness issues with your room, please call Environmental Services at 484.565.1538. At all four acute care hospitals, if you experience any problems with your room or the equipment in it (e.g., lights, TV, shower, heating/air-conditioning, bed), please call the following phone number and we will arrange to have the problem corrected.

Calling your nurse for assistance

A button to call your nurse is located at your bedside and in your bathroom. When you press the button, the nursing station is alerted that you need assistance and a light flashes on above your door. A staff member will respond to your signal as soon as possible. There is a speaker in your room and the nurse may answer your call from another location. If you answer verbally, he or she will be able to hear your request.

Telephone/mobile phones

Telephones are provided in all patient rooms. To call Philadelphia and nearby suburbs, dial 9 + area code + the number. To place a long-distance call in the tri-state area, dial 9 + 1 + area code + the number.

Directory assistance for the 215, 484 and 610 area codes may be reached by dialing 9 + area code + 555.1212. Long-distance directory assistance may be accessed with a calling card or credit card. See the telephone directory. For assistance, dial 0 for the hospital operator.

Paoli Hospital permits photographing or video-recording of patients under limited circumstances, including limited photographing or video-recording by family in Labor and Delivery. Using any device to photograph or record staff or other patients is prohibited at all hospitals. These include the clinical areas within the ICU, CCU, CTICU, NICU, OR, cardiac catheterization lab and telemetry units. Mobile phones left in standby mode can still transmit periodically to the nearest cell tower, presenting a risk of electromagnetic interference. This is for the safety of all of our patients and staff.

You may use your device in the following areas:

  • Cafeteria
  • Lobby areas
  • Visitor waiting areas
  • Other public, non-patient areas

Wireless internet service (WiFi)

We are pleased to offer our patients and families wireless internet access. Most devices will pick up the wireless connection as soon as you turn them on. Connect to the mlhguest network, open your web browser and select Accept Terms of Use to register and be directed to mainlinehealth.org. Once registered, you can browse the internet to any website you like. For security reasons, the system automatically clears all registrations every 24 hours. Please note that there is no encryption of security on the network, so be careful when deciding whether to transmit personal or confidential information.

Your valuables

Please do not keep valuables, such as cash, important papers, credit cards or jewelry in your room. We suggest you leave these items at home or place them in the hospital safe. Your nurse can assist you with the safekeeping of your belongings.

Please remember that the hospital is not responsible for the disappearance or damage of your personal possessions. If you discover something is missing, immediately contact a staff member on your floor who will then contact the security department.

You can also help by:

  • Removing any community (charity or fashion) wristbands while in the hospital to avoid any possible confusion among these bands and those used for purposes of your health care.
  • Only wearing the wristband placed by hospital staff.

Lost and found

If you lose or find an item, please contact the hospital security department at:

Electrical appliances

All personal electrical appliances (electrical and battery-operated) are prohibited in oxygen-enriched atmospheres. If you would like to use an electric appliance from home, please ask the staff first. This is to make sure it is safe to use in a hospital.