Hospitals provide a wide range of services. They also train medical professionals and help with medical research. They may have outpatient departments, emergency rooms, and surgical units. A hospital can be a large building, or a small clinic, a specialty care facility, or a community health center.
Often hospitals are part of a larger health system, such as a county, city, or state. They receive support from several sources, including government agencies, health insurance providers, and charities (direct or indirect).
People are admitted to a hospital when they have a serious or life-threatening illness or injury that requires treatment. A doctor–such as a primary care doctor, specialist, or an emergency department physician–determines if a person is sick enough to need a stay in the hospital.
When people get sick, they may stay in a hospital for a few days to a couple of weeks. They may be in a private room or they may be in an open-plan area with other patients who are seriously ill. A health-care team–including doctors, nurses, aides, and others–will visit the patient throughout their stay.
Staff members in the hospital will help you with things like eating, drinking, and taking drugs. They may give you medications through an IV line, which is a flexible tube placed into your arm or neck. They may also ask you questions about your condition.
They might check your blood, urine, and brain to make sure you are not having a mental problem. They may also do tests to determine your age and how well you are able to respond to certain treatments.
The staff will let you know what they are doing to help you get well, and when it is safe for you to go home. They may give you a prescription for medication or other supplies you will need to take at home.
You might have a nurse come to your room at different times during the day. They will help you feel comfortable and answer any questions you have about your treatment or medications. You might also have other health-care professionals come to your room, such as a physical therapist or a social worker.
Your doctor will visit you regularly to assess your condition and decide if you are getting better or need to be transferred to another part of the hospital. They will talk with you about your care plan and your laboratory results, and write your orders for treatment.
Many hospital staff are trained to make beds for their clients in a variety of ways. For example, a client with a broken leg might require a specially designed bed that is made for their needs and based on scientific nursing concepts.
Some hospitals have a staff member who is specifically trained to resolve problems with quality of care. These staff members can quickly address your concern and talk with the head nurse, physicians or other health-care staff who can help you resolve it.
If you are not satisfied with the response to your concern, you can ask a hospital staff member about bringing it up with a supervisor or someone who has more authority over hospital quality of care. This supervisor might be a manager, director or an administrative officer, or a person who works for the hospital’s oversight organizations, such as the New York State Office of Health.