We want your stay to be as pleasant and easy as possible. You can help by preparing for your time here and using the resources we offer.

Before your hospital stay

Being prepared can help put you and your family at ease. Before your hospital stay:

  • Pre-register
  • Talk to your insurance company about what’s covered
  • Look into financial assistance options
  • Research places to stay for family or friends, if needed
  • Talk to your employer, family and friends about what to expect

Meet your care team

As a patient, you have your own care team who works together to deliver all aspects of your care. Take time to look for an identification badge on every member of the care team. Please ask to see any badge that is not clearly visible.

Care Team

Your care team could consist of any combination of the following:

  • Attending Physician: The primary physician (physician of record) assigned to your care
  • Physician resident/fellow: A physician who has graduated from medical school and is completing medical training, working directly with the attending physician
  • Medical Students: Students who work under direct consultation with physicians, as part of the Medical Center’s role as a teaching hospital
  • Physician Assistant (PA): A certified medical professional with an advanced degree who works under the supervision of a licensed physician
  • Certified Registered Nurse Practitioners (CRNP or NP): A registered nurse with an advanced degree who prescribes and administers medications, performs physical exams, interprets laboratory studies and provides treatment
  • Nurse Manager: Oversees all aspects of administration and patient care provided by a nursing unit and has 24-hour accountability of nursing staff
  • Charge Nurse: Oversees all aspects of patient care provided by a nursing unit during a particular work shift
  • Registered Nurse (RN): Provides professional care, evaluates patient care, administers medications, provides patient and family education as part of the treatment and healing process, performs physical assessments and keeps patients informed about tests and procedures
  • Patient Care Assistant (PCA): Works under the supervision of an RN and provides routine care such as taking vital signs, helping with meals, giving baths, getting specimens and blood samples or some types of testing, as delegated by the RN
  • Social Worker (MSW): Helps patients and their families with understanding the hospital environment; counseling for emotional, financial, and social issues; help with insurance questions and coordination of discharge services to ensure a safe and timely return home
  • Care Coordinator (RN): A nurse who helps to smooth the transition from hospital to home, based on individualized patient-and-family-centered plans of care. The care coordinators partner with social workers to arrange clinical-and-community-based resources for your discharge

Bedside Shift Report

Our patients and families play an active role in their health care. The bedside shift report, which happens when your care team meets by your bedside to talk to you about your care, is a great opportunity for you to ask questions or raise concerns. Here, you will meet the new nurses during shift change. Listen carefully to make sure you have complete and timely information about your care, and ask your team to explain anything that might be confusing.

Preparing for Your Stay


When you are admitted to the hospital, a staff member will speak to you to get your personal information. If this meeting doesn’t happen when you arrive, a hospital representative may visit you in your room. Getting the correct registration information will allow us to process your hospital claim quickly and accurately or refer your case to a financial counselor, if you do not have medical insurance.

What to bring to your admission:

  • Photo ID and insurance card(s)
  • Simple toiletries, storage cases for dentures, contact lenses, eyeglasses and hearing aids
  • Cane, crutches or walker, as needed
  • Cell phone, if you have one, and charger. *Some rooms do not allow cell phones because they may interfere with medical equipment.
  • A list of all medications you are currently taking (prescriptions drugs, over-the-counter medications, herbal remedies, vitamins, diet pills, etc.) Information should include the exact name of the medication, strength, dosage and frequency you take it.

Make Your Wishes Known

Under Pennsylvania law, you have the right to make informed choices about health care, but it is important that you communicate those choices before they can be carried out. Please give serious thought to the treatment you prefer and who will be responsible for making sure your wishes are followed ahead of time. Discuss your preferences with your family and physicians. These preferences are stated in two types of documents - an advance directive and a durable power of attorney.

Advance Directive

This is a legal document that states your wishes about your medical care if you, as a patient, become unable to communicate them.

If you have an existing advance directive, please give a copy to your physician for your medical record. If you do not have an advance directive and would like to fill one out, please call Pastoral Services at 717-981-8131, or get in touch with your care team. The Medical Center encourages every adult patient to complete an advance directive.

The Medical Center does not discriminate against a patient based upon whether he or she has an advance directive. A patient can withdraw an advance directive or make changes to it at any time.

Durable Power of Attorney (POA)

This is a legal document that designates another person to make medical and/or financial decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated.

Bring a copy of your advance directive and/or durable power of attorney to the hospital each time you are admitted.

Organ Donation

State law requires hospitals and medical centers to solicit requests for organ and tissue donations, when appropriate. Patients should advise their family and physicians if they have signed an organ donor card or wish to be an organ or tissue donor.

Ethics Consultation

If a person becomes seriously ill without their wishes being known, there may be questions about treatment choices. An ethics consultation is an opportunity for a patient and family members to talk with physicians, nurses and other staff, including members of the Ethics Committee, about these difficult questions to have as much information as possible about the best course for treatment. Please ask your care team, if you would like an ethics consultation.

More Advanced Care Planning Resources

Planning Your Transition Home

We want to make sure you're ready and know what to expect after you go home and how we support you after you leave the hospital.

Our Care Management staff will assist with planning for your discharge. When you are discharged, you and your caregiver should fully understand your instructions and the plan for follow-up care.

Many agencies and services are available to provide help at home to those who need it. We offer all patients a choice in selecting the home health agency that will meet their needs. We also will arrange for nursing home or rehabilitation facility placement, if needed.

We have staff who will help schedule your post-hospital follow-up primary care and specialty care appointment before your discharge.

If you need to speak with Care Management staff, call 717-981-2109.

Penn State Health Life Lion Emergency Medical Services and Critical Care

Penn State Health Life Lion provides non-emergency transport services for patients who need to be taken in a wheelchair when they are discharged from the hospital. They also are available to take patients to doctors’ appointments and therapy sessions.

For additional information about non-emergency transport, call 717-981-7777.

Take charge of your health online

Sign up today for our online tool you can use to access your health care information from your smartphone, tablet or computer. It’s fast, easy and private.

On your day of discharge

Your doctor will decide when you are ready to leave the hospital. You will receive discharge instructions, including a medication list, prescriptions, activity, diet, wound care, follow-up visits with your doctor and other information that relates to your diagnosis and treatment.

When the doctor gives you a time of expected discharge, contact the family member or friend who will provide your transportation home or to your next destination.

If you are to travel to your next destination by ambulance, your care team will arrange your transportation for you. You will be allowed to carry only one small bag onto the ambulance. Family must take all other belongings at discharge.

Please alert your nurse if you have difficulties with your transportation arrangements.

The day you go home

Gather your belongings, including any valuables you stored with the Medical Center. Ask questions if you need clarification on at-home instructions or anything else.

Understanding Your Bill

Our hospital accepts most insurance plans. It is very important that you provide complete, accurate and current insurance information, including copies of insurance cards.

If your hospital bill is not covered in full, payment is due at the time of service. If there is any remaining balance, a bill will be sent to you. Penn State Health Hampden Medical Center accepts cash, checks, Visa, MasterCard and Discover. For more information about your bill, please contact us at 800-254-2619 or 717-531-5069.