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Patient Services
See also the "Topics A-Z" tool, an alphabetical index to all visitor- and patient-related subject areas. Patients may also call the Patient Representative at (301-496-2626) with any questions about patient services.

   

Bioethics Consult Service

A bioethics consultation team is available 24 hours a day to help you think about issues regarding your health care and participation in research. Please feel free to call the Department of Clinical Bioethics at 301-496-2429 if you have questions or concerns about your part in biomedical research.

Members of the team come from both the Clinical Center's ethics committee and the Department of Clinical Bioethics. During your stay, you will make many decisions about your care and participation in research. These decisions may be hard to make. The bioethics consultation service can help you balance your needs with those of others as you deal with the impact of illness.

Some questions you might want to discuss with a bioethics consultation team include:

  • How do I mesh my medical situation with my values about life and the future?
  • How might I decide about treatment options or side effects?
  • How might I think about a power of attorney or a living will?
  • What about my concerns for privacy and confidentiality?
  • What might I do about family arrangements or inconveniences?

Business Center

photo of business center  

As a part of the ongoing efforts to meet the needs of patients and their families, the Clinical Center has opened the new Business Center.

Located on the first floor of the Hatfield Center, Room 1-2480, the center is open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Hospitality staff and volunteers stationed in the main north lobby of the Hatfield Center will provide access and help users. Four PCs and four MACs (all with Internet connection) as well as a combined printer/copier/FAX and telephones are available.

Counseling Services

HIV Counseling Program. For patients, the HIV Counseling Program (sponsored by the Social Work Department) provides

  • Individual and group counseling for patients living with HIV/AIDS or newly diagnosed and concerned about coping with the illness, partner notification, community resources, and long-term psychosocial support.
  • Pre- and post-test counseling as needed for patients seen at the NIH/CC.
  • Education and referral for patients excluded from clinical trials because they tested HIV+.

Nutrition Services

photo of dietary staff preparing food

The Clinical Center Nutrition Department’s mission is to provide the best nutrition care and food service to you during your stay.   In order to accomplish this goal, we offer room service to our inpatients. Using the room service menu located at each bedside, you can order a meal from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. We also offer many specialized Room Service menus including Kosher, low fat and low sodium diets.  Menus are also available in Spanish.    

For medical or research reasons, some patients must follow restricted diets that may not be part of the room service program. In these cases you may be asked to select meals a day in advance from a paper menu. Family and friends may purchase food in any of the cafeterias, vending machines, and shops throughout the Clinical Center.
 
Clinical nutrition consults are available by physician or nurse referral to all inpatients and outpatients of the Clinical Center.  Clinical Research Dietitians have advanced training and expertise and are assigned by institute to every patient care area.

Financial Services

SEE ALSO: Banking Services

Friends of the Clinical Center. Founded in 1984, the Friends of the Clinical Center (FOCC) is a nonprofit, charitable organization located in the Clinical Center. It provides emergency financial assistance to NIH patients and their families who find themselves in a financial emergency during and due to their participation in research protocols at the Clinical Center. Illness often causes stress—both emotional and financial—for patients and family members. In addition to the concerns of finding a successful treatment, lost income over a period of time often has severe financial impact. FOCC can help by providing emergency funding on a case-by-case basis to those in need while receiving treatment at NIH. FOCC can assist patients with payment of rent and mortgages, utilities, car payments, transportation costs to and from NIH, medical bills, and other types of expenses. Patients desiring consideration for funding from FOCC should speak with a social worker. For information about FOCC call 301-402-0193, or view its website at: http://www.FOCCcharity.org

Gift Shops

A gift shop is in the Hatfield Center next to the Science Court. Another gift shop and a concession stand are on the B1 level of the Magnuson Center. All are open weekdays.

Information Services and Patient Information

If you would like to have more information about the activities of the National Institutes of Health or any of its Institutes or Divisions, OCCC staff may be able to help. Call 301-496-2563 if you would like to obtain some material. The hospital also produces a variety of patient information materials on many of the conditions and procedures under study at the Clinical Center. Feel free to ask your doctor or nurse whether there is any literature available about a topic of interest to you.

Internal Medicine Consult Services

Internal Medicine Consult Service resources are available, by physician referral, to all inpatients and outpatients at the Clinical Center. The consult service group has experience with both simple and complex medical problems, and is familiar with the NIH intramural research program and Clinical Center environment. The overall objective of the service is to help the research teams provide optimum clinical care.

Interpreter Services

Interpreting services are available for some languages on a limited basis. Call the volunteer office for information at 301-496-1807 from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Evenings, after 4 p.m., or on weekends, call the admissions office at 301-496-3315. Contact the on-call social worker by calling the page operator at 301-496-1211. Sign language interpretation for the hearing impaired may also be obtained.

Pain and Palliative Care Services

Pain and Palliative Care at the NIH Clinical Center is a clinical consult service whose goal is to relieve physical, emotional and spiritual suffering through interdisciplinary symptom management and holistic care to patients in research studies at NIH. The service is available by physician consult referral to all Clinical Center patients living with chronic, life-threatening conditions.

Patient Representative

The Patient Representative serves as a link between the patient and the hospital. The Patient Representative makes every effort to assure that patients are informed of their rights and responsibilities and that they understand what the Clinical Center is, what it can offer, and how it operates. We realize that this setting is unique and may generate questions about the patient's role in the research process. As in any large and complex system, communication can be a problem and misunderstandings can occur. If you have an unanswered question or feel there is a problem you would like to discuss, call the Patient Representative. The sooner your concerns are known, the easier they are to address. You may reach the Patient Representative at 301-496-2626. Calls made to this number after 5 p.m. or on weekends or holidays will be returned the following business day.

Parking for Patients and Their Visitors

There are two options for parking and both are free.

  • If you choose to self-park, go to the Patient Parking garage (P1), which has been relocated to the west end of the building off Convent Drive. Parking attendants will be available to assist you. You'll enter the new hospital through a new lobby on the lower (B1) level. Stop by the Hospitality desk to validate your parking ticket. The South Elevators serve the parking garages.

  • If you'd prefer to use the valet parking service for patients and visitors, drive to the Clinical Center's new main entrance on Center Drive. Valet parking is available Monday through Friday, 7 am-10 pm (excluding federal holidays). When you arrive, have your valet claim ticket validated at Hospitality desk.

Pediatric Services

SEE ALSO: Of Special Interest to Parents

Pediatric Inpatient Service. A 22-bed pediatric inpatient unit, located on 1NW provides care for patients from all Institutes. Inpatients on behavioral health protocols receive care on 1SW. This unit provides family-centered care, including rooming-in for one parent and a children's playroom. Children and families receive age-appropriate patient teaching, health promotion, and physical and emotional support. Nurses trained to care for children and their families staff the unit. Recreation therapy, art therapy, social work services, dietary services, spiritual ministry, and a schoolteacher all make the child's hospital stay as pleasant as possible-for the child as well as the family.

Two board-certified pediatricians oversee the pediatric inpatient unit. These doctors are available for advice or consultation and review the health status of all child inpatients with the charge nurse every day. The pediatrician also joins Institute staff for ward rounds, helps with general child health issues, and works with ward staff on each child's medical plan. Meals are tailored to the needs and desires of children.

Pediatric Day Hospital. The Pediatric Day Hospital, located on 1NW, provides skilled care for children who need special care but do not need to be admitted as inpatients. Services include:

  • medication administration
  • patient and family teaching
  • blood and urine testing

Pediatric Consult Service. The Pediatric Consult Service is a resource for any clinical researcher who needs assistance with caring for pediatric patients. Researchers may ask for a one-time consultation for an acute pediatric problem or for on-going consultation to help manage long-term conditions.

Childcare Services (Family Friend Program) Assistance with child care is available through the Clinical Center Family Friend program, a child care service staffed by trained volunteers. The program may be used by:

  • parents who need respite while caring for children who are pediatric patients; and
  • parents who are patients, but have no other means of child care, such as family members or friends.

Arrangements can be made by the social worker or the protocol's research nurse.

Photo of Children's Inn

Children's Inn. The Children's Inn at NIH is a family-centered residence on the NIH campus serving pediatric patients and their families who travel here for treatment at the Clinical Center. The Inn provides a home-like atmosphere of private sleeping rooms with baths, common living areas, playrooms, kitchen and laundry facilities, a computer center, and a library.

The Inn operates on a self-help basis with the resident children and their families helping themselves and each other. Family members do their own shopping, cooking, laundry, and supervise their children as they would at home. The first reservation to stay at the Children's Inn must come to the Inn through the patient's social worker. Thereafter, returning patients may call the Inn directly for reservations at 301-496-5672.

Photo of teacher and children at NIH Children's School

Children's School: The NIH Children's School PDF Logo (277 KB) is funded by the Federal government and is available free of charge to Clinical Center pediatric patients, who are patients in grades kindergarten through 12. The School is staffed by teachers from the Home and Hospital Instruction Office of the Montgomery County Public School system of Maryland. The primary goal is to maintain the continuity of education for each pediatric patient.

All pediatric patients, both inpatient and outpatient at the NIH Clinical Center are offered instruction. This includes patients in regular K-12 education programs, special education programs, General Educational Development (GED) candidates and patients preparing for college admission examinations. Patients who are non-English speakers are offered instruction in English as a Second Language (ESL) studies.

All pediatric patients are offered instruction; including those residing at the Children's Inn other sponsored residences, or in private accommodations.

Photo of playroom
Playroom. Children and their families are welcome in the playroom. At least one special event for children is held each month. Occasionally, special visitors entertain the children during these events. When time permits, entertainers may visit patients in their rooms.

Twice a month, several dogs are brought in to visit both adult and pediatric patients. These visits are voluntary and closely follow hospital infection control procedures.

For more information about recreation services for both children and adults, check the patient activities calendar. This calendar is available on the unit, in the Patient Library, and from your therapeutic recreation specialist.

Pharmacy Services

The Inpatient Pharmacy. The Inpatient Pharmacy provides medications for hospitalized patients. To assure that pediatric patients get the right dose for their smaller size, pharmacists do a special check for patients less than 18 years old. Pharmacists also check medication orders for potential allergies, proper dose, drug interactions, and drug incompatibilities.

Photo of outpatient pharmacy
The Outpatient Pharmacy. If your NIH doctor prescribes drugs to take home that are related to your research study, they will be filled at the Outpatient Pharmacy. They are usually given in amounts up to a 90-day supply. The Outpatient Pharmacy dispenses prescriptions and provides medication counseling to patients and their guardians for medication to be taken outside the hospital. The Outpatient Pharmacy is located on the first floor and is open during these days and times:

  • Monday through Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Friday 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Weekends and holidays from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Prescriptions from outside doctors cannot be filled by the Clinical Center pharmacy.

Clinical Pharmacy Specialists. Clinical Pharmacy Specialists have advanced training and experience. They are assigned to patient care and often go on "rounds" with the medical team. They also:

  • recommend specific medications
  • take part in selecting medications for special needs
  • monitor for side effects when medications are given
  • do medication counseling and patient education

Recreation Services

SEE ALSO: Playroom

The recreation therapy section provides recreation, library services, in-hospital entertainment, and maintains a movie channel on your room TV (stations 81, 90, and 92 are in English; 91 and 94 are in Spanish). Helping patients cope with the stress of hospitalization and maintaining their quality of life in the face of chronic disease and experimental treatment are the section's objectives. Available to all patients and their families, most programs are held on the first floor of the hospital and may include arts and crafts, music, games and sports, social events, and exercise. The gymnasium has a game room and a well-equipped exercise room.

Instruction in coping skills such as relaxation, enhanced communication, and stress management is available.

Trips are taken into the community for entertainment and sightseeing. Wheelchairs can be accommodated on all trips.

Twice a month, several dogs are brought in to visit both adult and pediatric patients. These visits are voluntary and closely follow hospital infection control procedures.

For more information about recreation services for both children and adults, check the patient activities calendar. This calendar is available on the unit, in the Patient Library, and from your therapeutic recreation specialist.

Photo of patient library
Patient Library. A comfortable, light-filled and well-stocked library is located on the 7th floor by the north elevators. There are more than 5,000 books, including a selection of current best-sellers, reference, foreign language, large-print, picture, and audio books. A special section featuring selections on health and coping is also included. Current DVD releases and music CDs, with choices ranging from classical to hip hop, are available. Books and music may be checked out for 2 weeks to inpatients, outpatients, and their family members. Movie DVDs are checked out for 2 nights to inpatients.

The library subscribes to some 30 magazines, the Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. A hospital volunteer or member of the library staff will also bring books, DVDs, CDs, or other library material to you.

The library offers instruction in basic computer skills (how to access the Internet, send and receive e-mail, and explore) so that you may better use the computer in your room. Special items such as CD players, guitars, and special visual aids such as talking books, and "bed specs" (prism glasses that allow you to read lying down) are also available. You may return books to the library yourself, or you may call library staff for pick-up. Drop by the library to browse or contact a hospital volunteer or nurse for information. Also watch the monthly patient activities schedule for partial lists of new acquisitions.

The library is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. On Federal holidays it is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. A 24/7 Reading Room next to the library is also available for your afterhours enjoyment. You may call the library at 301-451-7603 for assistance or information.

Television. Each patient room has a color television with a dedicated movie channel. For more information about how to operate the TV in your room, refer to the How-to PDF Logo (152 KB) Guide.

VCRs. The Therapeutic Recreation Section has a large selection of DVD movies for inpatient use. They are available through the Patient Library.

Rehabilitation Services

The Clinical Center's Rehabilitation Medicine Department (http://www.cc.nih.gov/rmd/)offers many services to patients and their families. Rehabilitation Medicine at the NIH Clinical Center provides medical evaluations of disability. Rehabilitation Medicine professionals help patients overcome problems with strength, mobility, movement, self-care, speaking, swallowing, or learning. Rehabilitation professionals help patients preserve, regain, and prevent a decline in function as well as learn new skills.

Medical Section. The Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation section offers humanistic and quality patient care to patients who suffer functional decline from disease, accident or psychological problems. Every patient referred to the Medical Section for consultation receives a complete evaluation by a physiatrist—a doctor specially trained in rehabilitation medicine.

If you are referred to the Medical Section, the physiatrist will make a treatment plan specifically for you. Common recommendations include programs to improve strength, stamina, balance, and the training in the use of adaptive equipment. The Medical Section consults and meets with referring physicians and the patient's family and makes referrals to other Rehabilitation Medicine Sections for further specialized evaluations, treatment, and equipment.

Physical Therapy Section. Physical therapists work with patients to help them keep and maintain and improve their ability to do daily activities. They make treatment programs tailored to each patient's problems and needs. Treatments may include family education; exercises to improve the patient's coordination, balance, and strength; and activities that improve movement and help the patient work with devices such as braces or splints.

If you need to use walking aids, you will be taught how to use them. If you currently use a wheelchair or specially constructed mechanical appliances, bring these with you.

Speech/Language Pathology Section. This section works with patients who have problems with communicating, eating, or swallowing. Treatment focuses on helping patients communicate at their best, with a special focus on communicating basic needs and ideas.

Occupational Therapy Section. The Occupational Therapy Section helps patients who are having trouble moving and using their hands. Occupational Therapy is designed to maintain or restore the ability to do daily life tasks and, through adaptation, minimize the effects of disability. Occupational therapists can work closely with you and/or your child to develop or improve function.

Recreation Therapy Section : SEE Recreation Services

Religious Services and Spiritual Care

Photo of chapel
The hospital has a Spiritual Care Department. The chaplaincy staff supports your spiritual needs. Chaplains are available for personal visits with you and your loved ones. Catholic, Jewish, Islamic, and Protestant chaplains hold regular services in the Inter-Faith Chapel. If your faith is not represented within the staff, the chaplains will contact your faith group representative on your behalf. Scriptures and religious literature of most faiths are available upon request.



Shuttle Bus Services

There is a shuttle bus service that can take you around the NIH campus. For routes and schedules, go to http://www.ors.od.nih.gov/pes/dats/patientservices/Pages/default.aspx

Social Work Services

The Social Work Department provides many patient services including The Patient Emergency Fund, Wigs for Patients, Notary Services, Support Groups, and many others.

Clinical Center social workers understand that illness and medical treatment affect not only the patient, but also the family as a whole. 
   
If you or members of your family have difficulties or concerns during your stay, social workers are here to help. Social workers routinely screen all new inpatients and are also readily available to outpatients upon request.   
 
You are encouraged to ask to speak with a social worker when you want to discuss concerns about your illness or NIH protocol participation.  Often patients and families want to be able to discuss concerns about their families, their jobs, or difficult feelings. For example, sometimes patients or family members may find that they feel particularly anxious, depressed, or worried, and that they would like to speak with someone about it.   
 
Social workers provide counseling.   They can also help connect you and your family to valuable resources, support organizations, and public and private agencies to address your personal, financial, and health care problems.   When you need special assistance with discharge, the social worker can work with your medical team to set up services, supplies, special equipment, rehabilitation, or home care. 
 
There are several ways you can obtain social work services:

  1. Call the Social Work Department at 301-496- 2381 and ask for a visit from a social worker. 
  2. Ask your doctor, nurse or any other member of your medical team to set up a meeting with your social worker.

Support Groups

Call the Social Work Department, 301-496-2381, to reach group facilitators.

NCI/Medicine Branch, New Patient Orientation Group. Mondays, 8 – 9 a.m.; Tuesdays/Wednesdays/Thursdays, 10 – 11 a.m. These groups provide a general orientation to the Clinical Center and NCI's surgery branch. They are for patients undergoing evaluation for participation in clinical trials. Family members and friends who accompany the patients are encouraged to attend the orientation.

NCI/Neuro-Oncology Branch, Brain Tumor Support Group. First Tuesday, 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. and third Tuesday, 5 – 6 p.m. of every month. This support group provides an environment and an opportunity for patients, families, and friends to express their feelings and learn new ways to cope with the physical and emotional facets of this disease. To attend one of these groups, please contact Nancy Garren, CRNP, group director at 301-496-6380 or at garrenn@mail.nih.gov prior to attending, as the times and topic of the groups can change, depending on the patients' needs.

NCI/Surgery Branch, New Patient Orientation Group. Tuesday/Thursdays, 10 – 11 a.m. Wednesday/Fridays, 12 – 1 p.m. These groups provide a general orientation to the Clinical Center and NCI's surgery branch. They are for patients undergoing evaluation for participation in clinical trials. Family members and friends who accompany the patients are encouraged to attend the orientation.

Volunteer Services

Photo of hospital volunteers
Hospital volunteers serve in many ways to make your stay at the Clinical Center more pleasant. Some volunteers greet you at the admission desk, while others may be assigned to your patient care unit. They can introduce you to the hospital, answer general questions, or act as language interpreters. Others can shop for you, accompany you to appointments, or just spend time visiting. Volunteers in recreation help you with crafts, special events, and go on scheduled trips. Red Cross volunteers provide a variety of hospitality services to make patients feel welcome and more comfortable. Volunteers are here because they understand how important it is to share time with patients who are away from home and family.

Most volunteers can be recognized easily by their uniforms and volunteer patch. If you would like a helpful hand or have a special need, visit http://www.cc.nih.gov/volunteers, call the volunteer program office at 301-496-1807 or visit in room 2-3581. The office hours are from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Wireless Internet Access

Wireless Internet access. Guest wireless service is available for patients and their guests at the NIH Clinical Center, Family Lodge, and The Children's Inn. This service provides access to the Internet and social media only. Please note that the network is not secure or encrypted, and it does not allow access to any NIH internal systems, services, or resources.

To access the guest wireless service, simply follow these steps:

1. Select the NIH-Guest-Network in "available wireless networks" from a laptop or mobile device, then click the "connect" button.

2. Once you launch a web browser (such as Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Safari), you will be redirected to a page displaying the network Terms and Conditions.

3. After reading the Terms and Conditions, click "Accept" and you will have immediate access to the Internet.

If you have problems accessing the guest wireless service, visit a Hospitality desk centrally located on the first floor of the Clinical Center, the NIH Patient Library located on the north end of the 7th floor atrium, or contact Wireless Device Assistance at 301-451-4380. Staff of the Safra Family Lodge will also be readily available to provide assistance.

Other Services

Banking Services. An array of financial services is available to you from the NIH Federal Credit Union (NIHFCU). The Credit Union has provided financial services to the NIH Community for over 60 years. It is a federally-insured, member-owned and operated cooperative.

You do not have to be a member of the Credit Union to cash personal checks (though some restrictions apply). But you may join the Credit Union to take advantage of membership benefits such as low-cost loans, savings and checking accounts, and convenient account access.

With a $25 deposit in a savings account, you can join NIHFCU. You will also need a valid photo ID including a driver's license or passport and verification of your affiliation with NIH (such as an NIH identification badge). You may remain a member as long as you like—even after you leave NIH.

The NIHFCU Clinical Center Branch is located on the B1 level and is open at these times:

Monday through Thursday: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Friday: 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Saturday: 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Note: Extended hours on Friday and Saturday are for the Teller Department only,

A full-service ATM just outside this branch is available 24 hours a day. Another ATM is at the top of the escalators near the second-floor cafeteria.

For more information about NIHFCU membership or products and services, please visit our web site at www.nihfcu.org or call its Telephone Service Center at 1-800-877-6440, TDD 301-881-5822.

Barber and Beauty Shop Services. Barber and beautician services—Barber and beautician services are available to patients and 
their visitors. An appointment should be made for using these services. Call 301-496-3019 for the barber shop; call 301-496-2765 for the beauty shop. For patients in financial need, a social worker may provide a voucher that meets the cost. For patients confined to their patient care unit, the barber or beautician will come to the patients.

Clinical Center Galleries. Looking around the first floor of the Clinical Center, you will notice art galleries. These galleries, on view 24 hours a day, feature artwork by artists from the Washington, D.C., area, with occasional exhibits from around the country. Each artwork sale benefits patients with a 20 percent donation contributed to the Patient Emergency Fund (PEF). Since 1995, these galleries have raised over $25,000 for the PEF. Price lists and other information about the galleries are available from the Office of Facility Management (B1L410) between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Art may be bought by contacting the Office of Facility Management at 301-496- 2862 or e-mail Lfitzgerald@cc.nih.gov. Feel free to browse through the galleries to enjoy the current display and, perhaps, to purchase a favorite piece.

Laundry Services: Washers and dryers are available for your use and are located on the B-1 level of the hospital (room B1N237). Free tokens to operate the machines are available from your patient care unit. You may ask your unit coordinator for details about this service. Some patient care units also have washers and dryers. A dry cleaning service is available through the R & W gift shop on the B1 level.

Mail Services. Mail is usually delivered to your unit twice a day Monday through Friday. Special delivery and registered mail will be distributed as soon as it arrives. You may mail stamped letters from your unit. Envelopes and stamps are available at the self-service post office near the bank on the B1 level. If you need help, ask the unit staff or a hospital volunteer.

Provide this address to your friends and relatives:

Patient Name
NIH Clinical Center
Patient Care Unit , room number ___
10 Center Drive, MSC 1000
Bethesda, MD 20892

To make sure your mail reaches you quickly, relatives and friends should write "patient mail" on the envelope and include your unit and room number. For mailing packages, patients and senders can use tracking services offered by the U.S. Postal Service or by other carriers such as Federal Express. These services need not be expensive.

Medic-Alert Bracelets and Necklaces. The Clinical Center will help patients obtain stainless steel Medic-Alert bracelets and necklaces for patients whose medical problems warrant them. Contact your social worker to obtain the order form for this identification. To ensure the accuracy of the information on the bracelet or necklace, you should talk with your doctor about how to state your medical condition.

Notary Services. Public notaries are available to witness signatures and certify documents. The patient representative and the admissions office staff can provide you with information about notary services.

Parking for Patients and Their Visitors.

There are two options for parking and both are free.

  • If you choose to self-park, go to the Patient Parking garage (P1), which has been relocated to the west end of the building off Convent Drive. Parking attendants will be available to assist you. You'll enter the new hospital through a new lobby on the lower (B1) level. Stop by the Hospitality desk to validate your parking ticket. The South Elevators serve the parking garages.
  • If you'd prefer to use the valet parking service for patients and visitors, drive to the Clinical Center's new main entrance on Center Drive. Valet parking is available Monday through Friday, 7 am-10 pm (excluding federal holidays). When you arrive, have your valet claim ticket validated at Hospitality desk.

Patient Emergency Fund (PEF).

PEF is administered by the Social Work Department. To learn more about the the PEF fund, patients can contact their social worker. The Social Work Department can be reached by calling 301-496-2381. The following is the address for the fund:

Patient Emergency Fund
National Institutes of Health, PHS, DHHS
Social Work Department, NIH Clinical Center
10 Center Drive Room 2-3-581
Bethesda, MD 20892

Publications for Patients. The hospital produces a variety of patient information materials on many of the conditions and procedures under study at the Clinical Center. Feel free to ask your doctor or nurse whether there is any literature available about a topic of interest to you. A Visitor Information Center in the Clinical Center provides information about the Institutes.

Telephone Services. On most units, there are telephones in each room for local calls. When your family and friends call you, they may reach you by dialing 301-402 and your extension number. If you are moved to another room, your telephone extension number will change. If callers do not know the number, they may call 301-496-4000 and the operator will locate you. As a courtesy to other patients, please ask family and friends to call before 10 p.m. There are also pay telephones located throughout the hospital.

Local calls
To call a number within the hospital, press 9 plus the 10 digits of the number.

To call local outside numbers: press 9-202 for Washington, D.C.; press 9-301 for Maryland; press 9-703 for Virginia.

Long-distance calls
For long-distance calls, you may use your patient extension to call collect or to bill charges to a credit card. It is not possible to charge calls to your room extension or accept incoming collect calls.

On each patient care unit, a telephone is provided for long-distance calls at no expense to you. Calls may be placed from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. and from 6 p.m. to midnight. We urge you to limit your calls to 10 minutes in consideration of your fellow patients who may also need access to the telephone. If you cannot get to this telephone, ask your social worker to authorize a long-distance call from your room telephone.

Travel Services. If you need help with travel plans, the travel agency staff can assist you and your family. The staff can obtain plane, train, bus, and airport shuttle information, make reservations or changes for you, and secure tickets. For further information and assistance, call or visit the travel office on the first floor weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. The telephone number 1-866-227-9339.

Angel Flight at NIH. Angel Flight at NIH (AFNIH) may be able to offer patients, in financial need, transportation to the NIH Clinical Center, as well as other research facilities throughout the United States. AFNIH uses charitable commercial airline tickets so more people can participate in medical research and benefit from medical advances.

AFNIH may be able to provide a domestic round-trip commercial airline ticket for a patient. The patient may bring one escort and they must travel together. Patients whose air travel is paid by NIH are not eligible. Financial need must be verified and the primary physician will be asked to sign a form indicating the appointment date, condition of the patient, and reason for traveling to a long distance medical or research facility. Advance notice is required. The patient is responsible for ground transportation to and from all airports. Many airlines charge additional fees, including booking, luggage and change fees, and are the responsibility of the patient to pay.

Services provided by AFNIH are funded through a variety of resources (frequent flyer donation programs, personal giving, airline, foundation and business contributions). Due to the charitable nature of these sources, there may be times when tickets are not available.

Angel Flight at NIH (AFNIH) [disclaimer] is sponsored by the NIH Office of Rare Diseases Research (ORDR), in the National Center for Advancing Translational Science (NCATS), and is a service of Mercy Medical Airlift (MMA) [disclaimer].

MMA is a non-profit organization whose mission is "...to ensure that no financially stressed patient is denied access to distant specialized medical evaluation, diagnosis or treatment for lack of a means of long-distance medical transportation." Charity Navigator consistently awards MMA with its top four star rating for financial health, accountability and transparency.

To request assistance please go to Angel Flight at NIH [disclaimer]

For patients who need help with transportation not covered above, such as needing medical care in flight, please contact the National Patient Travel Center [disclaimer] at 800-296-1217.

Wigs for Patients. If you have hair loss during treatment, your social worker can authorize a wig voucher. This voucher allows you to buy a wig from a local business contracted through the Clinical Center. You can then contact the wig contractor and make an appointment. You may pick up you wig voucher from the social work office in room 2-3581.


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This page last updated on 05/28/14


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