While Hospitalists have been around for many years and we introduced our Hospitalist Service in early 2003, it's important that you have all the information you need. Here are some commonly asked questions and responses that may help you better understand how your care will be provided.
Q: What is a Hospitalist?
A: Hospitalists are specialized doctors who focus all of their attention and skills on caring for hospitalized patients. All Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System Hospitalists are specialists in Internal Medicine.
Q: How does the Hospitalist Service work?
A: Hospitalists provide patient care around-the-clock, seven days a week. No one person can do this alone so they work as a team. You may work with just one of them, or you may meet all of our Hospitalists, depending on how long you are in the hospital. They may consult with specialists, such as Cardiologists, Orthopedic Surgeons or Oncologists for example, depending on the type of care you need. The Hospitalist, along with the hospital case manager, will help make arrangements for any prescriptions and other follow-up care that you may need after you are discharged. You may be asked to make an appointment with your primary care physician, or a specialist, soon after you leave.
Q: Why is a Hospitalist caring for me?
A: Your primary care physician may ask that a Hospitalist, who cares only for patients in our hospital, be in charge of your care during your stay. This enables your primary care physician to be more available to you in the office. If you do not have a primary care physician, our emergency room doctor may request that the hospitalist take care of you while you are in the hospital.
Q: How will my primary care doctor know how I'm doing when I'm in the hospital?
A: Our Hospitalists stay in touch with your primary care doctor when you are admitted to the hospital, when you are discharged and all important points along the way. You can count on the communication between the Hospitalists and your primary care doctor to be thorough, so he or she will be fully informed of your progress.
Q: What if I don't have a primary care doctor?
A: The Hospitalist, medical social worker and case manager are each able to assist you in finding a doctor to treat you after you leave the hospital. They can work with you to set up your first appointment and will help make your transition from the hospital to the care of your new doctor a smooth one.
Q: What happens after I am discharged from the hospital?
A: The Hospitalist will contact your primary care doctor or make arrangements for your follow-up care. Because Hospitalists provide care only for patients in the hospital, you will not have an appointment to see this doctor after you leave. Your primary care physician will be responsible for your care after you leave the hospital, including authorizing refills of prescriptions and following up on test results.
Q: How can my family and I communicate with the Hospitalists?
A: A Hospitalist will see you at least once a day, and more often if needed. This is the best time to ask questions about your medical care. During the day, your nurse can page a Hospitalist to respond immediately for any urgent issues. If there are changes in your condition and the Hospitalist thinks your family should know, your family will be contacted (with your permission).Your family members can contact the Hospitalists through the nurses. Please designate one family member as the contact person for the Hospitalists.
Q: Who can I contact for more information?
A: If you have questions, comments or concerns about the Hospitalist Service while you are in the hospital, please talk with your nurse.