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Surgical Family Waiting Area

The Surgical Family Waiting Area of Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals is a place to keep you informed of your patient's surgical progress while you wait. You play an important role in the patient's recovery, and we are here to support you.

This program is coordinated by the Operating Room Nursing staff, Recovery Room staff, Volunteer Services and the physicians.

The Surgical Family Waiting Area is located in Room 8210 of the Gibbon Building. It is open from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m., Monday through Friday. The telephone number is 215-955-7480.

Checking In

When you arrive, please check in at the front desk so that we know you are waiting. The surgical support nurse gets information about only those patients whose families or friends have checked in. Whenever you leave and/or return to the area, it is very important that you let the front desk know. A message will be taken for you if the surgeon calls. If you have a cell phone, please leave the number with the front desk.

Surgical Support Nurse

The surgical support nurse provides updates to you. He or she is an experienced operating room nurse who acts as a go-between for you and the surgeon. The nurse visits each family to give information at different times throughout the day and evening. The front desk will tell you the general time when rounds are made. Between rounds, the nurse is checking on patients in the operating room and recovery room in different areas of the Hospital. So, in some cases, the information you receive may have been obtained an hour earlier. We make every effort to give you information that is as current as possible.

Information You Can Expect

When the surgical support nurse visits, he or she will tell you when the surgery began. There is preparation time between when the patient goes to the operating room and when the procedure actually starts. The nurse will continue to give you updates about the procedure, including whether the patient has arrived in the recovery room. Each situation, patient and procedure is unique and may be handled differently. All time estimates of surgery and recovery are approximate.

Calls and Visits from Your Surgeon

The surgeon may contact you at any time during the procedure by calling the front desk. The surgeon may also choose to speak with you in person at the end of the procedure. Your surgeon will generally call or visit the area when surgery is finished. We recommend that you remain in the Surgical Family Waiting Area until you hear from the surgeon.

The Recovery Room Process

Patients are normally in the recovery room for about one to four hours, depending on the situation. When the patient is leaving recovery to go to his or her room or to be discharged, the front desk is notified and will tell you where to meet the patient. It is best to wait a short while in the Surgical Family Waiting Area to allow time for the patient to be made comfortable in the room.

The recovery room gives excellent care for all patients; however, because of the intense nature of activity in this area, patient visiting while in recovery is discouraged. We do restrict visitors to this area unless patient needs dictate that a family visit is advised. The nursing staff of the recovery room makes these decisions. The length of time a patient remains in recovery varies for both medical reasons and the availability of the appropriate room for the patient. The surgeon may give you an estimate, but do not be alarmed if the patient remains in recovery for a longer period.

Delays can occur unavoidably, and we will make every effort to keep you informed and to provide for your comfort.

Communications with Family Members

The front desk maintains contact with the families by using an overhead public address system. Should you have difficulty hearing, please let the desk know so that your needs can be accommodated.

Available Services While You Wait

  • Patient Belongings Storage - The front desk will be happy to store your patient's belongings while you wait. Use a pen to write the patient's name on the plastic belongings bag. Please carry the patient's valuables with you at all times.
  • Calling the Surgical Family Waiting Area - If you need to call the Surgical Family Waiting Area from another part of the Hospital, dial 5-7480 from any house phone. You may give the telephone number (215-955-7480) to others who may wish to speak briefly with you.
  • Pay Phones and Cell Phones - Pay phones are located in and near the waiting area if you need to make outside calls. Cell phone usage is permitted in all areas of the Hospital. Please do not use the front desk phones to make outside calls.
  • Refreshments -Complimentary coffee and tea is provided at the front of the room.
  • To Pass the Time - Magazines are available throughout the suite. The front desk has a selection of games, puzzles and some toys for children. Televisions are located only in the front portion of the suite and are limited to selected cable stations.
  • Blankets and Pillows - Please ask the front desk.
  • Quiet and Privacy Rooms -The quiet room contains two reclining chairs if you wish to rest in privacy. The privacy room is available for the surgeons to speak to you confidentially. Please inquire at the front desk for use of these rooms.

We hope that you find this information helpful. We welcome your comments and suggestions.