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Partners In Your Care & Safety


Controlling pain is an important part of your treatment. If your doctor has ordered pain relief care, you have a right to know everything about your pain and what your patient care team plans to do to help you feel better. You also have a right to caring, concerned caregivers who take action when you have pain, use the most current pain relief tools and, most importantly, are committed to helping stop and ease your pain.

As a patient, we encourage you to:

  • Ask your doctor and nurse what you may expect about pain and pain control.
  • Talk to them about how they can control your pain and discuss any concerns you may have about taking pain medicine.
  • Work with your patient care team to develop a pain control plan.
  • Ask for pain relief when you first start feeling pain.
  • Get familiar with the Pain Intensity Scale so that you can help your patient care team better understand how much pain you are feeling.
  • Tell someone on your patient care team if the pain relief is not working.

Facts about pain and medication

  • Keeping your pain under control is important for you to heal. With less pain, you’ll eat and sleep better, be able to move around more easily and feel more like visiting with family and friends. To help you feel better and heal faster, it is important that you pay close attention to your level of pain.
  • Pain medicine, when given with supervision, is safe and works well. Strong pain medicine is rarely addictive when given by the right caregiver.
  • Your doctor may order drugs to help ease side effects caused by pain medicine.
  • The pain and discomfort you feel may get stronger after a procedure or surgery. Taking pain medicine before you walk, exercise or do other types of activities can make it easier for you to move; and it may even help you heal more quickly.
  • Ask your care team members about other ways to ease pain, such as practicing relaxation and deep breathing exercises, changing positions and listening to music.

Numeric Pain Intensity Scale

Your patient care team members will often ask you to rate your pain using the Pain Intensity Scale (seen below), which ranges from 0 (no pain) to 10 (worst pain). This valuable tool can help your caregivers better understand how much pain you’re feeling.

Remember, in order to keep pain below the moderate to severe range don’t wait until the pain gets stronger before asking for help. The nurses will give you pain medicine as ordered by your doctor. If you don’t feel better or are having side effects, please tell a member of your care team so that they can help you feel better.


At SMHC, we are fully committed to the national patient safety goal of lowering the chance of getting an infection during your hospital stay. If you have any questions about stopping infection, or if you’d like to speak with our Infection Control Practitioner, please let your
nurse know.

We Do Many Things To Stop Infections

To prevent the spread of germs, we follow the nationally-approved “Standard Precautions.” These steps protect everyone and include: keeping hands clean; wearing protective clothing such as gloves, masks, eye protection and gowns (when applicable); and cleaning equipment.

There are some infections and germs that require special precautions. If you have one of these types of infections, we will take additional steps to prevent the spread of germs. These may include:

  • A private or semi-private room with another patient who has a similar condition.
  • Protective clothing worn by staff, such as gloves, gowns and special masks.
  • Equipment that stays in your room.
  • Limited movement in and out of your room.

Clean Hands

Keeping hands clean is one of the best ways to stop the spread of germs and infection. This can include either washing hands with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. You’ll find hand sanitizers in your room, which are available for your use, your guests’ use and for staff use. Of course, your caregivers must clean their hands before giving care to you. It is also important for you to clean your hands whenever you leave your room and when you return; before eating or taking medicine; and after using the bathroom, bedpan or commode. Your guests should clean their hands before and after visiting you as well.

Cover Your Cough

Stopping germs from spreading when coughing or sneezing is another important infection control measure. Be sure to cough or sneeze into a tissue, then throw the used tissue away and clean your hands. If you do not have tissues, cough or sneeze into your elbow so that you don’t get germs on your hands.

Getting Your Shots

Have you had the vaccines or booster shots you need to protect against infection? It’s important for your health and protection that they are up-to-date. Did you know, for example, that there are vaccines that can protect you from becoming seriously ill with the influenza (flu) or pneumonia? Talk with your doctor about these vaccinations.


The Safe Patient Handling Program was put into place to ensure the safety of our patients and employees while moving patients from one location to another, such as from their bed to a chair or transporting them for a test or procedure.

The following tools are available for staff to use to be sure you and the staff are safe when you are moved:

  • Gait Belts: used for moving safely in and around a patient’s room and hallway.
  • Hover Matt, Roll Board and Slide Sheet: can all be used to gently shift patients or move them from a bed to a stretcher and vice versa.
  • Mechanical Lift: lifts a patient straight up, usually from a bed onto a chair.
  • Ceiling Lift System: helps with: shifting or moving a patient from a bed to a chair or stretcher; lifting a patient so that sheets can be changed; holding a patient’s arm or leg for wound care treatment and/or bandage changes.
  • Ceiling Lift System for Ambulation: when patients are likely to fall, this system may be used to move them as needed.
  • Sit to Stand Mechanical Lift: used to help lift a patient from a sitting to a standing position.
  • Trapeze: a bar suspended above a patient’s bed that can be used to
    sit-up or shift.


Before you leave, please make sure you have all of your belongings with you. If you’d like, someone will take you by wheelchair to the Main Entrance and stay with you until your ride arrives. If you need a taxi or private ambulance service, your nurse will make the arrangements for you. If friends or relatives are picking you up by car, please ask them to park in the Visitor Parking Lot until you are ready to leave the hospital. Cars may not be left unattended in front of the Main Entrance, as it is a Fire Lane.

Make sure that you have:

  • Your belongings
  • Information on how to care for yourself at home (discharge instructions)
  • Prescriptions for medicine and how to take it
  • Drug, food and herbal interactions guide
  • Medication list to carry with you
  • Follow up appointment, if needed
  • All your questions answered
  • Who to contact should you have more questions
  • A ride home if needed
  • Information and contacts for help with your condition

© Southern Maine Health Care     1 Medical Center Drive     Biddeford, Maine 04005 USA     Tel: (207) 283-7000

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