Patient Safety

To discuss patient safety and quality concerns, please feel free to contact our Administrative Offices at 301-475-6001 Monday through Friday during business hours. You may also call the operator at 301-475-8981 and ask to speak with a patient care supervisor. If your concerns about patient safety and quality are not resolved, we encourage you to contact The Joint Commission at 1-800-994-6610, [email protected],¬†or by contacting them here. You can also reach the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene at 410-528-1840.

Standard precautions

In order to protect patients and associates, the MedStar St. Mary's Hospital staff practices "Standard Precautions." This means all of our staff members use protective measures when treating each and every patient. Precautions include vigorous hand washing, the use of gloves when starting IVs and the wearing of other protective equipment during specified procedures. These precautions offer a safeguard against disease for you and every other patient who receives care here.


All medications you take while in the hospital are prescribed by your doctor, dispensed by the hospital's Pharmacy and administered by a nurse. For your safety, patients are not permitted to administer drugs or keep personal medications at the bedside.

Tobacco-free environment

Smoking and tobacco use is not permitted on the hospital grounds. If you are a smoker, please talk to your doctor about a prescription or smoking cessation program to help you stop. Health Connections provides smoking cessation classes in partnership with the St. Mary's County Health Department. Call the Health Department at 301-475-4330 for more information.


Since the hospital cannot assume responsibility for your personal belongings, we ask that you not keep large sums of money, jewelry or credit cards with you or at your bedside. Should you arrive at the hospital with any valuable personal belongings, please send them home with a family member, friend or significant other. If this is not possible, ask your nurse to arrange to have the valuables placed in the hospital safe. You'll be given a receipt for your belongings and they will be returned to you upon discharge.

Access control

For your protection, public access to MedStar St. Mary's Hospital is limited to the Emergency Department entrance after 8 p.m. All other outer entrances of the facility are locked during the night. Associates must use their identification badges to access designated associate entrances to the hospital. A fire alarm override has been provided for access to the building by emergency personnel in the event of a fire.

Security Department

If you have a concern about safety or security, please have your nurse contact the hospital's Security Department.

Patient safety guidelines

MedStar St. Mary's Hospital makes every effort to maintain a safe and secure environment for patient care. Your health and safety are our main concerns during your stay. The following are some basic guidelines regarding patient safety.

  • When each patient is admitted, he or she will be evaluated for any risk factors that may cause a safety concern. The patient will then be evaluated according to age, mobility, strength, disease processes and neurological status.
  • If the patient has any safety issues to be addressed, he or she will be moved as close to the nurses' station as possible.
  • Should a patient become confused while at MedStar St. Mary's Hospital, various methods will be tried to help keep the patient calm and free from injury. The family may be asked to stay with the patient during this time of confusion or restlessness. If this is not possible, a staff member will be assigned to take care of the patient. During this time, hospital staff members will continue to help the patient remain calm by turning on the TV, walking with the patient, playing different games and offering frequent rest periods.
  • If the above methods do not help calm the patient, a safety device may be needed to help the patient stay in bed so he or she will not become injured.

Here are a few basic rules to avoid mishaps while staying at MedStar St. Mary's Hospital.

  • Always wear bedroom slippers when you get out of your bed.
  • Please do not get out of bed to use the bathroom without assistance unless your physician has given you permission to do so.
  • Take care not to lean on a bedside cabinet or table for support because the furniture may move under your weight.
  • Always have assistance in getting in and out of a wheelchair. Be sure to use the nurse's call button for assistance.
  • Drink hot liquids only while you are in an upright position to avoid upsetting them or spilling them on yourself.
  • Please do not attempt to lower the bedside rails without help.

Please talk to your nurse if you have any questions about your safety or that of a loved one.