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Patient Information

It’s normal to feel anxious about being a patient but knowing what to expect can be reassuring. At Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital, our team is prepared to help you every step of the way.

Here, you’ll learn how to prepare for your stay in the hospital, what will happen during your stay, and how to ensure a safe and comfortable recovery afterward.

Are You an Inpatient or Outpatient?

Did you know that even if you stay in the hospital overnight, you might still be considered an “outpatient?” Knowing your patient status affects how much you pay for hospital services like X-rays, medications and lab tests. It might also affect whether Medicare will cover your aftercare in a skilled nursing facility (SNF). 

How do you know if you are an inpatient or an outpatient? 

  • Inpatient: You become an inpatient the day a doctor writes an order to admit you to the hospital for medical treatment. 
  • Outpatient: You are an outpatient if you are getting emergency department services, observation services, lab tests or X-rays, and the doctor does not admit you to the hospital. Note: You can still be an outpatient even if you spend the night at the hospital. 

If you are in the hospital more than a few hours, always ask your doctor or nurse whether you’re an inpatient or outpatient. Do you have questions about how your patient status affects insurance and billing? Learn more at Understanding Your Hospital Bill

What to Expect During an Inpatient Hospital Stay

Throughout your patient journey, you, your health and your comfort are our top priority. The more you know about what to expect during your inpatient stay, the more smoothly the process can run. Plus, it can help to ease some of those pre-visit nerves. Find out what you need to know and what to expect at each stage: 

  • Before: Know what to pack and understand the registration process. Everything you need to be ready for your visit is clearly explained in Preparing for Your Stay
  • During: Our dedicated team is committed to ensuring your stay is as comfortable as possible. Learn about your in-room food options, how to help ensure your safety, and understand your patient rights and responsibilities in During Your Stay.
  • After: Our care doesn’t end once you’re discharged from the hospital. Find out what you need to know about BJC Home Care, where to get your medications, how to continue physical therapy, and what questions to ask our staff on our After Your Stay page. 

Still Have Questions About Your Stay at Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital? 

You may find answers in the detailed Inpatient Folder you’ll receive when you check in. If not, call your surgeon’s office or the hospital operator at 314.996.8000 so we can assist you.


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Find a doctor or make an appointment: 314.542.WEST (9378) OR TOLL-FREE 1.844.542.9378
General Information: (314) 996.8000
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Creve Coeur, Missouri 63141
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