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Hospital Medicine Frequently Asked Questions

What is a hospitalist?

A hospitalist is a medical doctor who specializes in taking care of hospitalized patients.

Why did my doctor refer me to a hospitalist for hospital care?

Because your doctor has an office practice outside the hospital, he or she may not be immediately available to take care of you during your stay at Duke Regional Hospital.

By referring you to a hospitalist, your regular doctor can be sure you are getting the best possible care from a physician who specializes in caring for patients in the hospital.

What are the benefits of being cared for by the Duke Regional Hospital hospitalist team?

The hospitalist team can more easily respond to unexpected problems while you are in the hospital, and can be more available to talk with you and your family.

How does the hospitalist know about me?

Your hospitalist talks regularly with your doctor. This communication happens throughout your hospital stay, including when you are admitted and discharged.

It is important for you to provide an accurate list of all medicines, vitamins, and herbal medications you take, as well as the amounts (or the prescription bottles themselves), for the hospitalist to review while you are in the hospital. Make sure your list is complete and current.

When will the hospitalist see me?

If you come to the hospital through the emergency room and you are admitted, a hospitalist will examine you while you are still in the ER. If you are admitted to the hospital by your regular doctor, a hospitalist will examine you in your room shortly after you arrive.

A member of the hospitalist team will visit you each day while you are in the hospital. However, the time of day the doctor visits will depend on what is scheduled for you that day. If you have concerns or questions, please ask your nurse to contact the hospitalist.

What if I need to see another specialist while I’m in the hospital?

The hospitalist coordinates treatment and will take care of getting specialists if they are needed.

Who will care for me once I leave the hospital?

When you leave the hospital, your hospitalist will send detailed records to your regular doctor, who will review your hospitalization and further treatment needs. The hospitalist will provide you with any needed prescriptions when you leave the hospital.

Please be sure to make a follow-up appointment with your regular doctor after you leave the hospital. Our hospitalists do not provide follow-up care or write prescription refills once you leave the hospital.

You are an important partner in your care. The more you understand about your illness and treatment, the better you can help prevent complications. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or to ask your hospitalist to explain something you do not understand.

How do I contact my hospitalist?

To speak with your hospitalist, simply tell your nurse. Once you leave the hospital, you should contact your regular doctor if you have questions about your follow-up care.