Tips for patients checking in

What to bring

  • A list of medications you are taking.
  • Medical information or records (including X-rays) from your personal physician, if possible.
  • Your medical insurance information.
  • Your own nightgown or pajamas, robe, slippers, toiletries, reading glasses, and a small amount of cash, if you wish.
  • A hair dryer, electric razor, or radio, if you wish.
  • Please do not use your own heating pad, heater, heating blanket, curling iron, VCR, television set or DVD player/Blu-Ray player.

Checking in

Each day a large number of patients with different medical needs and schedules comes through Duke University Hospital. We will try to meet your needs during the admission process, but you may meet delays while waiting for your room. We regret any inconvenience.

Your patient identification band

Each patient gets an identification (or "ID") band when checking into Duke University Hospital. The band contains important information about you that helps us meet your individual needs.

If you are not wearing your band, your meals and other services may be delayed. Please wear the band throughout your stay.

If your band is removed, falls off, or becomes uncomfortable, let your nurse know immediately.

Valuables and cash

Please give your valuables (jewelry, etc.) and cash over $25 to a relative or friend to take home. If you must keep valuables with you, please contact the Patient Access/Admissions Department at Duke Hospital at 681-2002 to arrange for safekeeping.

In the evening and at night, your nurse can help you deposit your valuables in a lock box. The Admissions Department will pick them up for you the next day. Please be advised that the hospital is not responsible for personal items or valuables kept in your room.

Cellular phones

Cellular phones may not be used in some areas of the hospital. Please ask hospital staff before using a cell phone.

Mail and flowers

Mail and flower deliveries should be addressed to you with your first and last name (for example, Mary Smith rather than Mrs. John Smith), Duke University Hospital, and room number, if available.

Please ask friends and family to mark your letters clearly as "Patient Mail." After you leave the hospital, we will forward your mail to your home address. Please note that flowers are not allowed on some intensive care units.

A few safety tips

  • At night: If you need to get up, feel free to call the nurse on duty for help.
  • If you're using a wheelchair: Keep your weight well back in the seat. Do not extend your hands and arms outside the chair. Ask for help when getting in and out of the chair. When getting out, make sure you step onto the floor -- not the footrest -- and lock the wheels to prevent rolling.
  • Fire drills: To make sure you will be safe in case of fire, Duke often conducts fire drills for staff. If you hear a fire alert, stay calm and in your room. The nurse will make sure you are all right and then close the door so the drill will not disturb you. 


All Duke Health facilities are smoke-free. Smoking is not permitted inside or outside Duke University Medical Center or any of its outlying clinics.


  • To have a newspaper delivered to your room, please turn on your call light by 10 a.m. to place your order with the Health Unit Coordinator on each nursing unit. Payment due at the time of delivery. Monday - Saturday $.50; Sunday $1.50
  • Local and out-of-town papers are also sold on the T level of Duke University Hospital and the basement level of Duke Clinic, beside the food court.


Telephones are provided in all patient rooms. The number for your room is located on the telephone and on the communication board in your room. To place a local or long distance call, you may dial the area code and telephone number. To make an international call, you must use a prepaid calling card or contact Patient and Visitor Relations at 919-681-2020 for assistance.

Patient guide

For more information about staying or visiting Duke University Hospital, view or download our patient guide.