Inpatient pediatrics is the provision of care to hospitalized children and adolescents. It may be necessary to stay in the hospital for evaluation and treatment of a range of conditions. Facilities with a separate inpatient pediatrics ward may employ consultants in a number of specialties to provide the most appropriate care to patients. These can include cardiologists, respiratory therapists, oncologists, and other care providers who focus on specific diseases or physical systems.
Medical treatment may need to take place in a hospital because of concerns about the patient’s stability. People who have trouble breathing, maintaining stable blood pressure, or controlling their heartbeat on their own may need to stay in a hospital where they can receive more aggressive interventions. Hospitals can also be necessary for people with compromised immune systems or severe injuries that might develop complications. If problems arise, like swelling in the skull after a head injury, they can be quickly spotted and treated in the hospital environment.
Some interventions may need to be performed by trained personnel, which is another reason to stay in the hospital. In addition to surgery, this can include administration of complicated medications as well as activities like conducting medical imaging studies. A child receiving cancer treatment, for example, might need to stay on an inpatient pediatrics ward for monitoring after taking toxic chemotherapy drugs. Likewise, teens who need heart surgery would need to stay in the hospital for preparation and monitoring around the time of the procedure.
Pediatric hospitalists are doctors who have trained in pediatrics and focus on providing hospital care. They can complete fellowships in specific topics if they want to focus on the advanced treatment of disease and may work with other pediatric subspecialists. Patients can require care from a coordinated team of people, especially if they have complex medical issues. Practitioners in inpatient pediatrics have an opportunity to interact with a wide variety of patients who may have different conditions and needs.
Facilities that do not provide pediatrics care specifically may refer children and adolescents if they would be better served by a different facility. This can be necessary for complex cases, where an expert who deals specifically with children can be required, or long hospitalizations, where children might be uncomfortable in an adult facility. Some inpatient pediatrics wards provide services to parents who need help finding lodging and other services in the area while taking their children for treatment.