What is a Hospitalist? Frequently Asked Questions
Listed below are frequently asked questions about hospitalists.
What Is a Hospitalist?
Hospitalists are PAMF physicians typically trained in internal medicine or family practice who specialize in the care of PAMF patients hospitalized at Stanford University Hospital in Palo Alto, Washington Hospital in Fremont, El Camino Hospital in Mountain View or Sutter Maternity & Surgery Center and Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz.
They provide care for patients requiring hospital treatment with medicine rather than surgery, such as pneumonia, meningitis, gastrointestinal bleeding and chest pain. Hospitalists are familiar with the hospital's systems, facilities and staff members, and maintain close relationships with specialty physicians such as cardiologists and surgeons.
Hospitalists provide patients with continuity of care, allowing them to see the same physician for much of their hospital stay. Because they work in the hospital, hospitalists can check up on the patient at least once a day and become familiar with the patient's illness. They can better coordinate care provided by specialty physicians and ancillary departments, such as physical and occupational therapy, respiratory therapy, social services and nursing case management.
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Who Is Treated by Hospitalists?
By virtue of their training, hospitalists generally care for patients with non-neurologic problems that require treatment with medicine rather than surgery. Care for patients with surgical, neurologic, oncologic (cancer) and obstetric/gynecologic conditions is coordinated by specialists in those areas. In addition, although hospitalists are able to treat many cardiac cases, serious problems such as heart attacks are seen by cardiologists. PAMF hospitalists care for adult patients only.
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How Do I Contact My Hospitalist?
Hospitalists generally visit the patient once a day or more as necessary during the duration of the hospital stay. At any of these visits, hospitalists are happy to answer questions from patients or family members. A hospitalist is always on call after hours to offer advice or assistance.
Patients may not see the same physician on the weekend as during the week. For example, at Stanford University Hospital, care may be transferred to another hospitalist. However, patients at Washington Hospital are seen by a PCP from PAMF's Fremont Center. Generally, patients will not receive care from more than two hospitalists during their hospital stay. If two hospitalists must provide care for one patient, the physicians discuss the patient's condition and background in detail beforehand, and the patient and family are notified of the change.
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