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How to choose the best hospital for your child

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At some point, all human beings have to visit the hospital, whether for checkups, treatment, or emergency visits.

This also applies to children. From the day they are born, usually in a hospital, and throughout their childhood, children will need to visit hospitals to make sure they are growing properly or to get treatment.

Hospitals have a great effect on the health of a child and choosing a hospital for your child should not be taken lightly by any means.

Types of hospitals

There are majorly two types of hospitals: federal and non-federal hospitals.

Federal hospitals
are hospitals which are a part of the Veterans Administration and Military.
These include hospitals that belong to the Air force, Army or Navy. This classification also includes federal prisons.

Non-federal hospitals are hospitals that are not a part of the Veterans Administration or military.
They are further categorized based on a number of factors which are as follows:

Based on bed capacity:
Hospitals differ in size, with some being very large and holding hundreds of people to some being much smaller. This is measured by bed capacity which means the number of beds the hospital can accommodate at a time.

  • Small: This refers to hospitals with bed space of less than a hundred.
  • Medium: These hospitals usually have between hundred and three hundred beds available for patients.
  • Large: Large hospitals usually have over five hundred beds available for patients.

Based on services rendered:
Some hospitals exist to render general services while others provide specific ones e.g. cancer treatment. This is another type of hospital classification.

  • General: These hospitals provide care for a variety of medical needs including surgical, pediatric etc
  • Specialty: These hospitals provide care for specific medical issues. For example, there are hospitals dedicated only for orthopedic treatment while some specialize in Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) problems.
  • Super specialty: These hospitals often require highly sophisticated equipment and extremely skilled staff in specific areas of medicine such as neurosurgery or renal surgery.

Based on funding:
Hospitals receive funding for their work in different ways some of which are as follows:

  • Government: Hospitals in this category receive their funding from the government, whether at the state or federal level. The fees charged at government hospitals are usually at a subsidized rate as a result.
  • Municipal: These hospitals are under the direction of the local government where the hospital is located.
  • Trust: Trust hospitals are either fully or partly funded through charitable contributions. They charge lower fees than private hospitals as a result.
  • Community: Community hospitals are managed by a specific community and receive funding from there. At times, these hospitals are only able to cater to residents of that particular community.
  • Private: Private hospitals are established and managed by private individuals. They are for profit and thus, charge their patients for every service rendered. They are usually the most expensive hospitals.

Based on duration of care:
Due to the nature of whatever medical issue is being treated, the amount of time a patient needs to stay in hospital varies and there are different types of hospitals for these different periods of time.

  • Short-term hospitals: These are for hospital stays lasting only a few days.
  • Long-term hospitals: These hospitals are for patient stays that last for extended periods of time, usually around 25 days and above. These include rehabilitation centers and specialist hospitals for medical issues such as paralysis.

Based on ownerships

Hospitals are owned and managed for various purposed and can be classified as such:

  • Not-For-Profit hospitals: These are hospitals owned usually by governmental bodies and also by religious organizations or charities that establish and run these hospitals for the purpose of serving the community.
  • For Profit hospitals: These hospitals are owner by individuals or organizations for the purpose of turning a profit.

Things to consider when choosing a hospital

Type of a medical issue to be treated: Children should be taken to hospitals based on the type of medical issue to be addressed as not every hospital is equipped to handle certain .For example, a child suffering from skin reactions such as psoriasis would need to see a doctor at a dermatology center.

Make sure to check hospital reviews to confirm that the hospital you are considering is equipped to handle your child’s medical issue.

Cost: Depending on your financial situation, some hospitals might be more convenient than others. Trust, community, and government hospitals are the cheapest options for receiving medical care.

Private hospitals, on the other hand, are quite expensive and mostly cater to patients with higher incomes.

Reputation: Certain hospitals are renowned for their work in certain medical fields.
Before taking your child to a hospital, conduct research on the best hospital in that field with a good reputation. Online review sites usually have doctor reviews as well to give you an idea of which doctor to choose.

Quality of facilities: Whatever hospital you take your child to should have the best facilities such as beds, X-ray machines and scales possible.

Common issues faced by patients at hospitals

As advanced as medical science and hospitals have become, there are still certain issues that patients might encounter, some of which are the following:

  • Misdiagnosis: It is estimated that almost 5% of patients are misdiagnosed each year when they visit hospitals. This usually leads to them getting the wrong treatments and medicines.
  • Medical malpractice: This occurs when a medical professional makes omissions or deviations from the norm during patient’s treatment.
  • Negligence: Medical negligence occurs when a medical professional fails to provide the expected care for a patient which might lead to injury.
  • Injury: It sometimes occurs that a patient goes in for treatment at a hospital and gets injured by no fault of his own.

What to do if you have been mistreated at a hospital

File a complaint: If you have experienced any issue at a hospital, you have the option to file a report. The first step is to find out how to complain about a hospital. To file a hospital complaint, you need to reach out to your state department of health services while for doctor complaints, your state medical board should be contacted.

Seek legal action: Legal action can be taken in the event of malpractice or negligence on the part of the hospital. There are a number of medical malpractice lawyers who can file a court case against a hospital or a doctor in order to get justice or compensation for their client.

Choosing a hospital to take your child is a decision that must be approached with all seriousness for the sake of your child’s health and well-being. You must consider the type of hospital to take your child to and to look for the hospital with the best reputation. Look at hospital reviews online to guide your decision.

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