Your Safety as a Patient

Smoke-Free Environment

It is the policy of the South Texas Health System to provide a healthy and smoke-free environment for all patients, visitors, employees,  and medical staff members. Therefore smoking cigars, cigarettes, e-cigarettes, vapors or any other form of tobacco use is not permitted in any hospital structure or on any property owned by South Texas Health System including parking lots, adjacent sidewalks and office buildings. No one is permitted to smoke inside any of the STHS facilities at any time, under any circumstances.

Smoking and Your Health

Smoking is one of the most controllable risk factors that causes illness and death. People who smoke  are more likely to die earlier than those who do not smoke. Cigarettes are filled with poison that goes into the lungs when you inhale. Coughing, dizziness, and burning of the eyes, nose, and throat are early signs that smoking is harming you. Smoking also increases your health risks if you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol. The long-term problems of smoking may include cancer, heart and blood vessel disease, lung disease and gastrointestinal disease.

Second Hand Smoke

Second hand smoke is a mixture of the smoke given off by the burning end of a cigarette, pipe or cigar, and the smoke exhaled from the lungs of smokers. Children are especially susceptible: their lungs are still developing and childhood exposure to second hand smoke results in decreased lung function.


Please give your nurse a list of all medications you are currently taking, including prescription and over the counter medications, as well as vitamins. This list should also include any medications from Mexico that you may be taking. Include the dosage, frequency, and the last time each medication was taken. Your physician will decide which medications you should continue to take while in the hospital. Your nurse will bring you medications ordered by your physician. All medications you may have brought with you should be returned home as they can interfere or interact with tests or medicines ordered for your treatment. For your safety and protection, only medicines approved by your physician and supplied by our pharmacy will be given during your stay. Your nurse will ask you questions concerning your past responses to medications and any allergies you may have. You may be asked to wear an allergy bracelet, which alerts all caregivers to your allergies. At discharge, your medications will be reviewed with you, and you will receive a list of these medications to take home. You should share this list with your primary care physician after discharge.

Pain Management

Pain is your body’s way of reacting to injury or illness. Everyone reacts to pain in different ways. While you are a patient at STHS, your pain will be evaluated and managed as often as needed. Together, we will work on a pain goal that is acceptable to you, keeping you as comfortable and as pain free as possible. The nurse will give you a pamphlet on pain management that will have a tool to help you measure your pain.

Pneumococcal and Flu Vaccines

The pneumococcal vaccine is available at STHS for patients, and is given year round. If you are interested in this vaccine, please discuss this with your physician or nurse to see if you meet the criteria. The flu vaccine is offered to our patients during flu season, from the month of October until March.

Infection Control

Our facilities follow infection control practices to prevent the spread of infection among patients, physicians, staff, and visitors. Everyone plays an active role in controlling infections in the hospital, and you can help by following these guidelines:

  • Wash Your Hands: This is the single most important infection control measure that you can do. Wash with soap and water using vigorous friction for a minimum of 15 seconds. Wash after using the restroom, before and after eating, after touching an unclean area, and when your hands are visibly dirty. In addition to hand washing, our facilities have wall-mounted alcohol-based hand gel dispensers for all to use.
  • If you see any kind of soiling, please tell the staff so that we may have it cleaned for you.
  • Do not eat other people’s food and do not share your food with anyone.
  • Do not use anyone’s linens or hygiene items.
  • Your visitors and family should not visit when they are sick or have an infection.
  • If you are in “isolation” please follow the isolation instructions sign posted on your door and ask that all your visitors do the same. Visitors may be required to wear gloves, a gown, and/or mask.

Cellular Phones

Cellular phones may be used in the public areas of the hospital. This does not apply at the South Texas Behavioral Health Center campus. If you have a cell phone with you, please use it with discretion and keep it at a low tone/volume or in vibrate mode while a physician is visiting with a patient/family. The camera option on a cell phone may not be used at any time. STHS is not responsible for the loss of cell phones.


As much as we are concerned for your personal safety, we encourage you to take an active role in your personal safety and the security of your personal belongings. We encourage you to leave your personal belongings and valuables at home and only bring those belongings that are essential to your care. The hospital is not responsible for loss or damage to personal belongings. The hospital has a safe to use for the safe-keeping of your valuables in the event you are unable to send your personal belongings/valuables home. For more information, please speak to your nurse.

Lost and Found

Items found on hospital premises should be turned into Security. Items that patients and visitors inadvertently leave in their rooms will be turned into security. Medications left behind are turned into the Pharmacy. Perishable items such as flowers, fruit, and food normally will be disposed of immediately. All other items will be kept for 30 days before disposal. We will make an effort to contact the owners of any item found on campus.