During your child’s stay, you will encounter a number of healthcare professionals who work together to coordinate your child’s treatment. They make up your child’s healthcare team. You and your family are also an important part of the care team. We encourage you to speak up and let your needs and concerns be known.
There may be many doctors involved in your child’s care. In addition to your child’s attending doctor, who is often your child’s personal doctor or the doctor who admitted your child, your child may be seen by other medical or surgical specialists, as well as fellows or residents. A fellow is a doctor pursuing further training in his or her subspecialty. A resident is a doctor who has completed medical school and is enrolled in a residency training program in a particular specialty. Residents are also referred to as house staff and work under the careful supervision of attending doctors.
There may be many nurses involved in your child’s care as well. They work closely with the doctors and other members of the health care team. Our nursing team includes the Patient Care Director, nurse practitioners, staff nurses, nursing assistants, and ICU technicians. The Patient Care Director is responsible for the supervision of all nursing care on a particular unit or units. A registered nurse, who is designated as your child’s primary nurse, plans and coordinates your child’s overall nursing care and assigns tasks as appropriate to other members of the nursing team.
Care coordinators are registered nurses who see that your child’s doctors’ orders are carried out in a timely manner. The care coordinator may ask you questions about your child’s care and your medical insurance so that your child can receive the appropriate benefits covered under your policy.
Unit clerks greet patients, family members, and visitors as they arrive on the unit, answer phones, respond to call bells, and schedule tests. They also check the accuracy of the information on your child’s ID band. They are available to answer your questions and direct you within the unit. If the unit clerk does not know the answer, he or she is responsible for finding the appropriate person on the unit who can help you.
Physician assistants are health professionals who are members of your health care team. Under the supervision of your child’s attending physician, they can deliver a broad range of medical and surgical services, conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, counsel on preventive health care, assist in surgery, and prescribe medications.
Social workers are key members of the health care team, working with children and their families to help manage the complexities of the Hospital stay. Our social workers are committed to educating parents, serving as advocates, and facilitating communication during and after the Hospital stay. They perform psychosocial assessments, provide counseling and support to help families cope with the emotional stresses of illness and hospitalization, assist with discharge planning to promote continuity of care, and provide referrals to community services and resources.
Child Life Specialists are credentialed professionals who strive to make the Hospital experience as manageable as possible for children and their families. They address the emotional, developmental, and psychosocial needs of patients and families by providing positive coping skills and support during the health care experience. They also provide play, music, and art programs to help normalize the Hospital stay. Please let a member of your child’s health care team know if you would like a Child Life Specialist to meet with your child.
Registered dietitians are also professional members of your child’s healthcare team. They assess the nutritional needs of our young patients. Upon admission, your child’s doctor will order a diet appropriate for your child. Our registered dietitians develop a nutrition treatment plan for your child that supports the medical care provided by your doctor. If your child is on a special diet, the registered dietitian may work with you directly to coordinate this diet during hospitalization. If your child requires a special diet at home, your child’s dietitian will provide you with information and teach you how to follow the diet before your child’s discharge.
Nutrition assistants take your child’s daily meal orders and deliver the meals to your child’s room. You can also ask your nutrition assistant to provide snacks for your child.
Physical therapists assess your child’s physical and functional needs and provide exercises and programs to help your child regain strength, restore mobility, and improve ability to function in preparation for discharge.
Occupational therapists provide therapy designed to help improve your child’s ability to carry out age-related activities of daily living, such as eating, dressing, bathing, and grooming, following discharge.
Speech therapists assist children who may need help in regaining or improving speech and communication skills.
Respiratory therapists provide care to children with breathing difficulties who need assistance.
Environmental services workers are responsible for providing a clean and safe environment for patients and staff, including cleaning your child’s room every day.
Laboratory technologists manage laboratory testing. Phlebotomists are members of the laboratory team and trained to draw blood.
Lactation specialists are available to help mothers learn techniques for breastfeeding their babies and increasing their milk supply.
Patient escorts are staff members who transport your child to and from tests and procedures in the Hospital. They see that your child gets to and from his or her destination safely.
Radiology technologists are specially trained health professionals who perform radiology examinations, including X-rays, CT scans, MRI scans, and ultrasound procedures.
Volunteers provide vital assistance to our patients, families, and health care professionals. Throughout the Hospital, they can be found lending a helpful hand with a wide range of tasks and activities. They welcome patients and families, provide toys and games, do arts and crafts activities, and serve as a companion when one is needed. Volunteers must be at least 18 years old. If you feel a volunteer could help your child in some way, please let your child’s nurse know. All parent members of the Family Advisory Council are official Hospital volunteers and are a resource for patients and their families when they are on the units. You should always feel comfortable asking a Family Advisory Council volunteer for help, guidance, or direction while your child is a patient at the Komansky Center for Children’s Health.