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Patient Safety

Your doctors and nurses care about you and will do their best to keep you safe.  But safety is everyone’s responsibility–including you! By becoming involved and actively participating in your own care, you will make a big difference in ensuring your own safety.

Bring along your current medications, including over-the-counter products such as aspirin, vitamins, minerals and herbal products to be identified by the Pharmacy and then returned to home.  Be sure to mention all allergies and sensitivities.

Answer all questions about your health as honestly and completely as possible. Provide any and all information that you feel may be important.

Make sure staff checks your armband.  Assist staff in checking your identification. Show staff your armband whenever they come in to give you medicine, draw blood or do any type of test. The armband confirms your name and patient number.

Ask everyone — caregivers and visitors — to wash their hands or use gel hand cleaners which are available at main entrances. This is the best way to fight the spread of infection.

Ask every person to identify himself or herself when they come into your room. All hospital employees wear a photo ID badge. Physicians will either have a photo ID badge or their name and specialty embroidered on their lab coat. You have a right to know who is caring for you and what they are doing.

Check all medicines you are about to receive. If a medicine does not look right to you, or you have any concerns about it, ask the nurse to please check your chart.  Report anything unusual to your doctor or nurse, especially any change in the way you feel. If needed please call Patient Safety Alert at 333-1708.

The use of all tobacco products is prohibited throughout the hospital. The goal of this policy is to foster a healthy and safe environment for everyone who works in, uses, or otherwise visits the facilities. Smoking is the leading cause of hospital fires. Visitors may smoke in the designated smoking pavilions which are located outside of the main entrance and Emergency Department.

SGMC Health is not responsible for the loss of or damage to money, and/or valuables (to include the following but not limited to: jewelry, dentures, glasses, contact lenses, hearing aids, medical device equipment, or any type of prosthesis) and/or property which are taken to the patient’s room. SGMC does not assume responsibility for personal possessions that are not placed in the vault for safekeeping.   If you lose something, please notify your nurse immediately and we will make every effort to help you find it. Unclaimed articles are turned in to the Patient Representative, where they are kept for 2 weeks. To inquire about lost articles, please call the Patient Representative at (229) 259-4414 or (229) 259-4415.

As a patient at SGMC Health, you can be assured we practice Infection Prevention methods (National CDC Standards) that reduce the risk of patients and families developing health care associated infections. Healthcare workers will wear gloves and masks as needed to protect patients and themselves from infection. Hand washing is a very important step in reducing infection. Both during and after your hospital stay, you should wash your hands frequently to prevent the spread of infection; for example, before and after meals, toileting and performing any personal hygiene. You must wear shoes while in the hospital to prevent injury and bacteria penetration to the feet. In the event of the diagnosis of TB, chicken pox or disseminated herpes zoster, special isolation rooms are required. It is in your best interest to restrict visitors that have infections themselves such as pink eye, colds, flu, fever, etc. Respiratory Hygiene and cough etiquette is practiced in all settings. You may be asked to cover your mouth/nose with a tissue when coughing, promptly dispose of used tissue, or to wear a mask if you are coughing. Spatial separation, ideally >3 feet, of persons with respiratory infections in common waiting areas is done when necessary.

Ask questions about every part of your care until you feel satisfied you are making the best and most informed decisions. Write down your questions for your doctor, nurse or pharmacist. Do not be afraid or embarrassed to ask questions; it is your right to get answers. Write down the answers as you are talking with your healthcare provider so you can look over them later. Do not be afraid that you will trouble or insult your doctor or healthcare staff by asking questions. We want to know if you have concerns or are worried about your treatment.  Ask a family member or friend to come with you to help you ask questions and remember what you are told.

Before leaving the hospital, be sure that you understand what you are supposed to do at home. Your doctor or nurse will review your medications and care instructions with you. Ask questions if you do not understand or have any concerns. If a family member is with you, you might want to ask the nurse to go over the discharge instructions with them as well.


You may be at risk for falling because: Your surroundings have changed. These unfamiliar surroundings may make it difficult to move around at night.  A changed diet may make you weak and unsteady.  Certain medicines may make you dizzy or light-headed.

Here are some things you can do to partner with South Georgia Medical Center and make your stay a safer one:

  • Please adjust your bed to the lowest position. Keep the side rails up. Please do not lower, or ask your family or friends to lower the side rails for you.
  • Always wear skid-resistant shoes or slippers when you are out of bed. If you do not have rubber-soled shoes, please ask a Nursing staff member to provide you with a pair.
  • Use the call light at the bedside to alert staff when you need to go to the bathroom or if you need any assistance. Once you have called, please wait for Nursing staff to arrive. It may take a few minutes for someone to get to your room.
  • Remember, if you feel dizzy or weak, always ask the Nursing staff for help getting out of bed. If you must get up without waiting for help, remember to sit up in bed for a few moments before standing.
  • Please keep all of your personal items and the telephone within reach or on the bedside table.
    Observe for “CAUTION, WET FLOOR” SIGNS. Please report any spills in your room to the Nursing staff.
  • There is an emergency pull cord in your bathroom. If for any reason you feel dizzy or have fallen – pull the cord! This will alert the Nursing staff.
  • Expect the Nursing staff to frequently ask you if you need to use the bathroom – this is to provide you with assistance in getting out of bed and to aid in your safety.
  • For added safety, the Nursing staff may also ask one of your family members to come and stay with you.

Tell Us if you take herbal products.  Surgery and some herbal products can be a dangerous combination. Herbal products can affect your pain level, bleeding, sedation, how you fight infection and your recovery. We are just beginning to understand how herbs affect the body when you have surgery or certain procedures. We want you to have the best possible care during your visit at SGMC Health. To do this we need to know which herbal, over-the-counter and prescription medicines you take. Over 1,500 herbal products are sold in the United States and the American Society of Anesthesiologists has identified these common herbal products as having possible side effects:
Echinacea, Ephedra, Feverfew, Garlic, Ginger, Ginko, Ginseng, Goldenseal, Kava-Kava, Licorice, Saw Palmetto, St. John’s Wort and Valerian. It is suggested that you stop using all herbal medications two to three weeks before hospital admission to avoid possible side effects. Be sure to list or tell staff about the herbal products, vitamins, supplements and medicines you are taking. You should then talk about the possible side effects of these medications with your doctor.

Do you or a family member need a translator? 
SGMC Health complies with applicable Federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability or sex. SGMC Health does not exclude people or treat them differently because of race, color, national origin, age, disability or sex. For more information on non-discrimination, click here.

SGMC Health provides services to people with disabilities and/or to people whose primary language is not English, such as:

  • Qualified sign language interpreters
  • Qualified English as a Second Language (ESL) interpreters
  • Accessible electronic formats
  • Literature printed in English/Spanish

For ESL Services you may call 1-229-433-1000

For TTY Services you may call 1-800-255-0056

If you need further assistance with these services during your stay, or require sign language interpreting, please contact Patient Relations, Patient Advocates at 229-259-4414 or 229-259-4415. If Patient Relations is not available you may request to speak with our House Supervisor for assistance. For patients with scheduled procedures, you may make arrangements prior to your date of admission by contacting Patient Relations.

If you believe that SGMC Health has failed to provide these services or discriminated in another way on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability or sex, you can file a grievance by contacting our Section 1557 Coordinator, Assistant Administrator of Communications and Public Affairs Johnny Ball, through the following methods:

By Mail:
Attn: Communications/Public Affairs Administration Office
SGMC Health, 2501 N Patterson St, Valdosta, GA 31601

Or by contacting our Communications/Public Affairs Administration Office at:
Phone: 229-259-4022
Fax: 229-245-2157

You can file a grievance by mail, fax or email. If you need help filing a grievance, staff members are available to help you. You can also file a civil rights complaint with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Civil Rights electronically through the Office of Civil Rights Complaint Portal, available at www.hhs.gov/ocr, or by mail or phone at: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 200 Independence Avenue SW, Room 509F, HHH Building, Washington, DC 20201, 1-800-868-1019, 800-537-7697 (TDD).