Main content

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

    Many patients have questions regarding their visit at Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento (Sutter General Hospital, Sutter Memorial Hospital, and Sutter Center for Psychiatry).

    We have provided the following information and frequently asked questions to help you prepare for your hospital stay. Visit the Assistance for Uninsured and Low-Income Uninsured Patients page at checksutterfirst.org to learn more about your payment options.

    Preparing for your hospital stay

    Sutter General parking is available for you and your visitors at nominal rates under the freeway in the block bounded by 29th and 30th Streets, and K and L Streets. Entrances to the public parking area are located on both 29th and 30th Streets. Paid parking is also available at the new Sutter Community Parking Garage on 28th Street between Capitol Ave. and N St (credit cards only).

    Sutter Memorial parking is available for you and your visitors at nominal rates on the north side of Sutter Memorial in Main Parking Lot C. The hospital entrance is located at 53rd and F Streets.

    Once I arrive at the hospital, where should I go first?

    Go to the admissions desk located in the lobby at either hospital. An admissions representative will ask you to fill out some forms and then you will be escorted to your destination.

    If you are a patient in labor, enter in the Main entrance in the rear of the hospital, and proceed to the 2nd floor to register.

    If you have already been pre-admitted, you will just need to sign a treatment consent form. If you have not been pre-admitted, you will need to complete other forms at this time as well.

    Will I need to bring any paperwork?

    Please bring any medical insurance cards and any necessary claims forms. This will speed the admissions process. If you have pre-registered and recently changed insurance companies, please bring your current insurance card and forms.

    What if I become too sick to decide?

    California law allows you to choose someone to make healthcare decisions for you if for any reason you become unable to make these decisions for yourself. To do this, all you have to do is complete a form called, "Power of Attorney for Health Care." By filling out this special form, you will appoint someone to make healthcare decisions for you and specify any wishes you may have concerning your healthcare, including a desire not to receive treatment that merely prolongs a terminal illness. Forms are available from hospital social workers.

    You may also verbally designate a surrogate during your admission process. Your surrogate would then be able to make healthcare decisions for you should you become unable to during your hospital stay. For more information, ask your physician, nurse or social worker.

    Do I need to take any tests first?

    Your doctor's office will tell you if any tests are needed in advance. Results from tests are necessary prior to many services and surgical procedures. Please make sure you have completed the tests prior to your arrival. Some insurance companies require you to receive some tests at outside facilities and the results are sent to the hospital before your arrival. Please check with your insurance company if you have any questions about your insurance coverage.

    What are my rights as a patient?

    Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento follows legal requirements concerning your rights to make decisions about medical treatment. Please refer to the Patient Bill of Rights page for details. A social worker is available to answer any questions you may have about these issues.

    What personal items should I bring?

    Hospital gowns are available, but you may bring your own dressing robe and slippers. We encourage you to bring your own toiletries from home. If you are having a baby, bring clothes for your newborn. Upon discharge, you are required by law to have an infant car seat to transport your newborn home. Pediatric patients may bring one special blanket or a comforting stuffed animal. Upon discharge, you are required by law to have a car seat to transport children under the age of six or less than 60 pounds.

    What about my valuables?

    Please do not bring jewelry (including rings), money or other valuable items to the Medical Center. If you do have money or valuables when you are admitted, please ask someone to take them home for you. You also may deposit them in the Medical Center safe during your stay. You will be given a receipt. Sutter General and Sutter Memorial Hospitals do not assume liability for personal property.

    What should I wear?

    Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes. You will be more relaxed when you arrive at the Medical Center and you will find it easier to move around the facility for tests or different appointments and procedures. In addition, it will make changing clothes much easier.

    Can I keep my clothes at the hospital?

    There are small closets for your use in your hospital room. However, to best safeguard your clothing, please ask a family member or friend to take them home during your stay. They can be returned to you when you are ready to be discharged. If you are going to be transferred to another facility, such as a skilled nursing facility, please bring your own nightwear to use when you leave the hospital.

    Can I smoke?

    Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento campuses, which include Sutter General, Sutter Memorial, and Sutter Center for Psychiatry are Tobacco and Smoke Free campuses. This means that the use of tobacco in any form and all smoking is prohibited on these properties. If you believe this may be problematic for you during your stay, please discuss this with your physician as it may be possible to arrange for smoking cessation aides.

    What if I have dentures?

    If you wear dentures, tell your nurse when you arrive in your room. The nurse will provide you with a special container for them. Please do not leave them on your meal tray.

    What if I'm taking medications?

    Please bring a list of your medications and dosages. Your physician will evaluate which ones you should continue taking while in the hospital. These will be dispensed to you by the hospital pharmacy during your stay. Any medications brought from home will be sent to the pharmacy. This procedure ensures that the medications you are currently taking do not interfere or interact with new medications ordered for you during your stay, and prevents the loss of your medications from home.

    Can I bring a hair dryer or electric razor?

    Due to special wiring and safety codes designed to protect you and others, privately owned electrical appliances are not permitted in the hospital. Please do not bring personal computers, VCRs, hair dryers, curling irons, electric shavers or radios. Battery-operated appliances, such as a portable radio, cassette, or CD player, or rechargeable shaver, may be used in the hospital. Cellular phones may not be used in the hospital as they may interfere with electronic equipment in the facility. You are responsible for the security of any personal items.

    What if I have special needs?

    You should talk to your physician first about these needs. In addition, tell your nurse as soon as you are admitted. If you have special dietary needs, your nurse will arrange for you to discuss these needs with a clinical dietician from the Nutrition and Food Services Department. Language interpreters are also available for almost any language 24 hours a day. Your nurse can help you obtain these services.

    What about meals?

    The Nutrition and Food Services Department will bring meals three times a day and snacks upon request (provided your physician does not restrict your diet). Patients' meals are generally served as follows: breakfast, 7:00 a.m.; lunch, 11:30 a.m.; and dinner, 5:00 p.m.

    Dining

    Visitors are welcome in our dining rooms which are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

    Hot meals are served at the following times:

    • Breakfast 7 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
    • Lunch 11 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
    • Dinner 4 p.m. - 7 p.m.

    For the convenience of your visitors, vending machines and a full coffee bar are available in both hospitals.

    Can my family or friends bring food for me?

    You may eat food brought in by your family or visitors (except for home-canned food), but please obtain your physician's approval first. Some foods may be restricted if they interact with your medications or are not listed on your diet prescription. There are no cooking facilities available to patients and visitors at the Medical Center and storage space for items like food is limited.

    Visitor Information

    When can I have visitors?

    Unless your doctor restricts visitors, your family and friends are welcome 24 hours a day.

    What hotels are available in the Sacramento area for families and friends?

    The Sacramento area has a wide selection of hotels and motels where visitors can stay while their family member or friend is in the hospital. Visit our Locations and Accommodations page for a listing of hotels in the area.

    Can my family or friends eat with me?

    For a nominal fee, your visitors can order meal trays to be served in your room at patient meal times. If a guest tray is desired, have your friend or family member visit the cafeteria cashier and pay for the meal. Then, they should obtain a menu from the nurses' station in your unit, make a selection and return the completed menu to the nurses' station. The guest tray will be delivered during your mealtime.

    Will I be able to make phone calls?

    Your bedside telephone enables you to place most local, toll, long-distance and credit card telephone calls without the assistance of the hospital operator. You will receive detailed information about how to use the phone in the patient handbook in your room.

    TDD telephones are available, as well.

    Patient Rooms

    Will there be a television in my room?

    Yes. All rooms have televisions and remote control devices.

    Can I have a private room?

    Some private rooms are available. If your doctor orders a private room for medical reasons, your insurance generally pays for it. Since benefits for private room coverage vary among insurance companies, you should check with your insurance representative or review your policy prior to your arrival at the hospital.

    The single rooms on the pediatrics unit are primarily for isolation precautions. If your child is in one of these rooms, but does not require isolation, it may be necessary for the bed assignment to be changed.

    Other Questions

    What if I have other questions?

    Please call if you have any additional questions.

    Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento

    • Sutter General (916) 454-2222
    • Sutter Memorial (916) 454-3333
    • Sutter Center for Psychiatry (916) 386-3000

    Preregistration for Surgeries and Procedures

    • (916) 978-8000

    OB Patients Pre-registration (Sutter Memorial Hospital)

    • 916-733-1010

    Admitting Department (Registration)

    • Sutter General (916) 454-2222 ext 83403
    • Sutter Memorial (916) 454-3333 ext 11515

    Business Office

    • (800) 353-3369

    Financial Counselor / Preadmissions

    • (916) 453-5818

    Information Desk/Auxiliary

    • Sutter General (916) 454-2222 ext 83403
    • Sutter Memorial (916) 454-3333 ext 11515

    TTY Line

    • (916) 454-2277

    For more information on SMCS's Tobacco/Smoke Free policy, open the SMCS Tobacco/Smoke Free Policy FAQ document (.pdf).

    What if I have a concern or complaint during or about my hospital stay?

    We want you to have the best possible care and experience while you are with us. If you should have any concerns or complaints about your stay at Sutter Medical Center Sacramento, you may call Quality Review Services at (916) 733-3075. Our complaint line is also available at (916) 733-8833. You also may be asked to complete a written survey questionnaire or respond to a telephone survey about your stay, and we would encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity to provide us with your feedback.