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Pediatric Hospitalist Frequently Asked Questions

April 1, 2016
Karen Finnigan, MD Medical Director Pediatric Hospitalist Program
Karen Finnigan, MD
Medical Director
Pediatric Hospitalist Program

24 Hours A Day, 7 Days A Week

If your child is admitted to Orange Regional Medical Center, it is possible your child’s Primary Care Provider (your Pediatrician or Family Medicine Provider) may request a special group of physicians, called Hospitalists, to care for him or her during their hospital stay. Pediatric Hospitalists specialize in care of pediatric inpatients. Our Pediatric Hospitalist Services offer you and your child many benefits throughout their stay in the hospital.

What is a Pediatric Hospitalist?

A Pediatric Hospitalist is a Pediatrician who specializes in caring for hospitalized pediatric patients. They are not medical interns or residents; they are highly trained and experienced physicians. Hospitalists focus their attention on the care of hospitalized patients. Hospitalists manage your child’s stay at the hospital, coordinating and consulting with specialists, closely monitoring progress and staying in close touch with you, your family and your child’s Primary Care Provider.

When are Pediatric Hospitalists used?

Your child’s Primary Care Provider or Pediatric Specialist may request the assistance of a Pediatric Hospitalist due to their specialized focus on the care of pediatric patients in the hospital setting. They are available to assist in performing examinations, interpreting test results, consulting with other healthcare providers and coordinating your child’s inpatient hospital care. Their services are available in the pediatric unit, emergency department, newborn mother-baby unit and other areas of the hospital where necessary.

How does the Pediatric Hospitalist work with my child’s Pediatrician?

When your child is admitted to the hospital either as a scheduled admission or through the emergency room, the Pediatric Hospitalist will assess your child’s condition, take a complete medical history and perform a thorough examination. Upon admission, the Hospitalist will reach out to your Primary Care Provider to obtain critical historical information and will be available to update them on your child’s condition and treatment plan upon request. Typically your child’s Primary Care Provider will not be seeing your child while they are in the hospital. The Pediatric Hospitalist will be in charge of your child’s day-to-day care while in the hospital and will talk to you and your child’s Primary Care Provider in-depth about the issues that are important for your child’s medical needs. When planning for discharge from the hospital, the hospitalist will contact your child’s Primary Care Provider to discuss further treatment plans and help arrange follow up. At the time of discharge, the Pediatric Hospitalist will send hospital information to your child’s Primary Care Provider and provide a summary of your child’s hospital stay to you.

How accessible is a Pediatric Hospitalist?

Hospitalists are available to be at the hospital around the clock, seven days a week delivering high quality care to pediatric inpatients, allowing primary care providers to see children in their offices. This structure allows your child’s care to be coordinated by a physician who specializes in hospital care and allows you more access to the physician caring for your child when they are hospitalized. With a physician available in the hospital all day and night, it is easier for your family to communicate about your child’s illness and provides for a quick response in case of an emergency.

How does the Pediatric Hospitalist benefit my child?

Having Pediatric Hospitalists on staff is like having your child’s doctor just down the hall from you throughout your stay. This increased availability of physicians in the hospital means improved communication with your child’s care team that includes nurses, specialists, therapists, radiology staff, discharge planners, emergency room physicians and other consulting physicians. Your Pediatric Hospitalist knows every specialist and department in the hospital, ensuring timely follow-up on tests and treatments. The result is streamlined, comprehensive, high quality care for your child.

Who else will care for my child?

In addition to a Pediatric Hospitalist, your child will be cared for by a team of professionals including experienced nurses and sub-specialty physicians based on your child’s diagnosis. Additionally, Orange Regional is a teaching hospital where medical students and residents have the opportunity to further their knowledge by caring for pediatric patients while under the direction of experienced physicians.

When will we see our care team?

The attending Pediatric Hospitalist and other healthcare team members make daily morning bedside rounds, also called Family Centered Rounds. The main purpose of Family Centered Rounds is to share information that allows you, your child and the medical team to make decisions about your child’s medical care. Other care team members may include nurses, specialty physicians, pharmacists, social workers and a child life specialist. This is a great time to ask questions.

What if I or my family have more questions after rounding?

An important benefit of the Hospitalist Service is increased availability to your child’s care team led by a Pediatric Hospitalist. A Pediatric Hospitalist is available 24/7 to explain and respond in person to you, your child and your family. During critical and stressful moments, your Pediatric Hospitalist will be available to provide timely, honest and considerate answers to all questions throughout the day and night.

What happens when my child is ready for discharge?

Your child’s discharge plan and goals are discussed early in the hospitalization process and are handled by a case manager. Your child’s discharge plan will include all prescriptions necessary for your child to take at home, scheduling of any follow-up appointments that might be needed and a discharge summary that you will need to provide to your child’s Primary Care Provider and Pediatric Specialists at your follow-up appointments. It is recommended that your child see their Primary Care Provider within 1-5 days after discharge.

What if we do not have a Family Practitioner or Pediatrician?

If your child does not have a Primary Care Provider, please let a member of the team know as soon as possible so that we can provide you a list of local Primary Care Providers to which we can also assist in scheduling an appointment.

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