When my child is admitted to the hospital, who will help us make medical decisions?

Admissions to hospitals are often frightening and confusing experiences, especially for families going through it for the first time. Parents keeping tabs on who is seeing and treating their child have to figure out the titles and roles of caregivers. And children may be afraid of being treated by a room full of strangers. It can be overwhelming.

A common question from parents upon admission is whether their child’s usual doctor will be caring for them while they are in the hospital. In Cincinnati, as in much of the rest of the nation, the trend is toward using specially trained doctors called hospitalists, who are employed by the hospital to care for children when they are hospitalized.

Many doctors’ offices elect to use the service of hospitalists for their patients and resume direct care once the patient is sent home from the hospital.  During the hospitalization, hospitalists work closely with the child’s regular doctor and the family to make the best medical decisions for the patient and to ensure that everyone is on the same page when it comes time to transition care. 

There are advantages with either approach.  It is important to discuss the approach your doctor’s office (or potential office, if selecting a new practice) uses when patients are hospitalized to avoid surprises later.  A better understanding of who’s who can make a big difference in making your stay at Cincinnati Children’s easier.