Who is cared for by a hospitalist?
Bay Area’s hospitalists will typically manage the care of three kinds of patients:
- Patients who do not have a primary care doctor who they regularly see;
- Patients wo have a primary care doctor who is not from our area or is not on staff here at Bay Area;
- Patients of local doctors who decide to refer their patients to a hospitalist to oversee that patient’s care while in the hospital.
Many primary providers have decided to refer patients to hospitalists for treatment during the full duration of their hospitalization. The primary provider has voluntarily made the decision to refer you to a hospitalist.
What is a hospitalist?
A hospitalist is a physician who is often trained in general medicine and has chosen to specialize in the care of hospital patients.
They are experienced in dealing with the kinds of illnesses that bring people into a hospital.
Hospitalists are also very familiar with the inner workings of a hospital and will often act as a facilitator between you and the various services of the hospital and its staff.
Bay Area's hospitalists care for a wide range of health problems and they work full time here at BAMC. They are part of a team that is responsible for seeing that you are getting the care and service you need while a patient at BAMC.
What are the advantages of being treated by a hospitalist?
A hospitalist will usually have a similar background and training in primary care as your regular doctor. They are trained for procedures and work closely with the nursing team in the units and the Intensive Care Unit. In addition, they are familiar with the inner workings of the hospital, which allows them to coordinate your care with other hospital services and with other specialists.
Hospitalists do not have clinic hours. They are in the hospital for most of the day, which makes them available when needed. Your primary care doctor has placed his/her trust in the hospitalist to provide efficient and quality care in the inpatient setting so they can focus on the outpatient setting. This is an equal dedication between the hospitalist and your primary provider to deliver the best care possible.
In the course of their work, a hospitalist will see conditions that require hospitalization more frequently than would a typical primary care doctor. This allows the hospitalist to focus his/her knowledge on inpatient diseases and treatments.
Will I be under the care of the same hospitalist while I am at BAMC?
Because BAMC has a number of hospitalists who treat patients, there is the possibility that you will be seen by more than one hospitalist during your stay. The hospitalists and staff will be working together to coordinate your care while you are here.
How will my doctor and the hospitalist work together?
The hospitalist and your doctor will work together and coordinate your course of treatment and address any issues of concern you may have while under the hospitalists' care. Your regular doctor will also be talking with the hospitalist about your personal medical history and special needs. When your primary care doctor resumes your care after you are discharged, they will have all the information they need about your stay through a formal written discharge summary and, if needed, personal discussions with the hospitalist.
How can I or my family communicate with the hospitalist?
The hospitalist sees each patient every day and sometimes more frequently. Patients are seen in order based on their level of acuity. The first patients seen are critical care patients which means it may take several hours for the hospitalist to see you. Family members may discuss issues with our nurse and the nurse can refer their questions to the hospitalist.
What happens after I am discharged?
You will be given a set of instructions including a list of discharge medications and any new prescriptions you may need. You should follow your discharge instructions carefully, including scheduling an appointment to see your primary care doctor.
Once you are discharged from the hospital, your care will once again be the responsibility of your regular doctor. Questions about your health that are not directly related to your stay in the hospital should be directed to your primary provider. Remember that hospitalists do not see patients outside of the hospital.
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