Your Care Team
Everyone at Valley Children’s is trained to meet the special needs of children and their families. A skilled healthcare team, together with you and your family, will work to take care of your child. Your child's treatment team can consist of doctors, nurses and many other healthcare professionals. To help you understand what each team member does, here is a brief overview of some of the people you may encounter.
There are many kinds of doctors who may help care for your child:
- Attending physicians and hospitalists are doctors who are responsible for your child’s care and lead the treatment team. A hospitalist is an attending physician who is an expert at treating children sick enough to be admitted to the hospital. Some family physicians or pediatricians prefer to have a hospitalist provide your child’s care for them while they are in the hospital. The hospitalist works only in the hospital, and stays in close touch with your family physician or pediatrician and will arrange for your child to return to see them soon after discharge.
- Clinical psychologists work with children and their families to learn how to deal with the demands of an illness and its treatment.
- Physician consultants are the other doctors who the attending physician may ask to help care for your child. They include doctors who are experts in problems or tests that concern your child. Examples are: radiologists who read X-ray films, scans, ultrasound pictures; anesthesiologists who give children medicine to prevent pain; cardiologists who are experts in heart problems; and many more.
- Neuropsychologists identify the effects of brain injuries or disorders on a child’s learning ability, thinking ability and behavior. They also help the child and family learn to deal with any changes.
- Residents are doctors who have finished medical school and are learning to be experts in children’s health. Valley Children’s Hospital is a teaching hospital and training new doctors to become experts in child health is an important part of what we do for our community. We have residents who will become pediatricians, family practitioners and experts in emergency medicine. We also have surgery and radiology residents. An intern is in the first year of training, a junior resident is in the second year, a senior resident is in the third and final year of training. Residents always work as a team led by an attending physician. Your child may or may not be seen by a resident while you are here.
Because we have a lot to offer, more than one type of physician may see your child. They are all part of the team caring for your child. You may talk with any of them about any problem, or ask them any question about your child’s care.
Nurses on Your Team
Nurses work with you, your doctors and other healthcare team members to see to your child’s comfort and well-being at all times. They are close by when needed for questions or if problems arise and make sure tasks and orders needed to care for your child are carried out.
There are as many kinds of nurses as there are doctors. These include Registered Nurses, Licensed Vocational Nurses and Clinical Nurse Specialists. They differ in training, specialty, experience, job description and authority. You may ask anyone on your nursing team for help or information. If they can't answer your question directly, they will find a team member who can.
Other Team Members
- Audiologists help children who may have hearing problems.
- Case Managers are registered nurses who help manage your child’s care and assist in planning for your child’s discharge. This means making sure your child has everything needed to go home as quickly and safely as possible.
- Clinical Nurse Specialists/Nurse Practitioners are specially trained Registered Nurses who assist other treatment team members in developing treatment and teaching plans for very sick patients.
- Dietitians work with you and your healthcare team to plan a diet to meet your child’s medical needs and eating habits.
- Health Unit Coordinators (HUCs) assist the health care team with clerical duties.
- Lactation Services are available by our board-certified lactation consultant. If you have breastfeeding questions or would like assistance, please contact extension 35427 or (559) 353-5427 from outside the Hospital.
- Occupational Therapists work with children who, because of a medical problem, need help learning everyday tasks such as getting dressed, feeding themselves, brushing their teeth, bathing, playing and participation in school activities.
- Pediatric Care Technicians (PCT) help meet the basic needs of the child, such as feeding, bathing and drawing blood samples. They also obtain information for the nurses and the doctors.
- Pharmacists are responsible for providing all medications for your child. They check medications and doses for accuracy. Pharmacists also help families learn how to safely use and store medications at home.
- Phlebotomists draw the blood samples needed to treat your child.
- Physical Therapists help children with problems of movement, balance, coordination, strength and endurance.
- Physician Assistants, or Physician Associates, also known as PAs, can diagnose and help treat patients in partnership with other members of a child's care team.
- Radiology Technologists operate medical equipment that helps take “pictures” of what is going on inside your child’s body during an illness or after an injury. They are experts in assisting the medical team through the use of ultrasound, nuclear medicine, CT and MRI scanning equipment.
- Respiratory Care Practitioners (RCP) or Respiratory Therapists are specially trained to do many different things to help your child breathe easier, such as using special medicines, equipment and procedures.
- Speech-Language Pathologists work with children who need help with speech, language, language/learning and feeding/swallowing.
The Support Team
- Admissions verifies patient identification, obtains consents and patient and family information needed to begin your child’s stay. Admission Counselors ask for medical and financial information like your health insurance.
- Financial specialists help patients and families with financial matters. The Admission staff also provides information on patient rights, patient & family responsibilities, resource information and information about the hospital.
- Interpreters help patients and parents who speak languages other than English. To reach an interpreter, call the Interpreter Services Department at 35250 from a visitor phone or (559) 353-5250 from outside the Hospital.
- Social Workers help you with personal, emotional, financial and family problems that may affect your child’s health. They can also improve communication between you and the treatment and support teams if confusion or misunderstandings occur. They offer crisis intervention, information and referral to community support agencies and other services. Ask any team member if you would like to meet with a Social Worker.
- Patient Representatives are available to help facilitate any questions or concerns you may have. They can assist you by explaining policies, connecting you with the appropriate staff, answering questions or assisting with problem solving. They provide a formal mechanism for the investigation of complaints. If you would like to speak to a Patient Representative, please call extension 35425 or (559) 353-5425.
- Environmental Services make sure the Hospital is clean and neat.
- Spiritual Support Services Chaplains provide emotional and spiritual support for patients and families, offer prayer and religious literature, and assist in contacting clergy from your own church or denomination. Ask any team member if you require this service. Chaplains are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Volunteers are special people who donate their time and talent in many areas to assist the staff who care for our patients. They can be identified by their brightly-colored aprons or vests.
- Child Life Staff and volunteers help meet the emotional, social, developmental and educational needs of hospitalized children. Child Life Specialists prepare children for medical procedures and surgery and help children cope by giving them the opportunity to express their feelings through play.
Case Management Services plays a vital role in creating the appropriate linkages with the health care team, insurance companies and community-based agencies to coordinate and implement a plan of care that is in the best interest of the patient, family and the Hospital. Case Management services are provided by Case Managers who are Registered Nurses (RNs). On average, they manage between 15 to 25 patient caseloads, including those with complex medical needs. Case Management Liaisons provide support for our Case Managers, including follow-up with the family after discharge, and other various department functions.
Valley Children’s Case Management expedites discharge plans for complex patients, making sure they can go home in a timely manner and opening beds for additional patients.
- Discharge Planning: Our Case Managers assess patients with complex medical discharge needs, such as patients who need home health nursing, special supplies and children with feeding tubes. They anticipate discharge needs and collaborate with interdisciplinary teams to prepare the family for discharge. Case Managers also arrange in-home services, supplies, equipment and medications.
- Utilization Management: We evaluate patients on an ongoing basis to insure they are meeting criteria for admission and continued stay at Valley Children’s as well as assess medical eligibility for participation in the California Children’s Services (CCS) program.
- Care Coordination: Valley Children’s Case Managers participate as members of the multidisciplinary team to coordinate care. We coordinate patient care conferences that involve members of the multidisciplinary team and the family to address the needs of complex patients.
While Case Managers work with every discipline at the Hospital at some point - depending on the complex patient’s medical needs - we work very closely with the following:
- Valley Children's Home Care (a division of Valley Children's Hospital): Our collaboration with Valley Children's Home Care allows us to manage discharge patients more effectively. Valley Children’s Home Care supports a large number of patients using ventilators and with other complex medical needs.
- Social Workers: Our Case Management Team works collaboratively with Social Workers on complex patients who have social, economic and psychological challenges to ensure a successful discharge.
- Starship Inpatient Units: We meet needs specific to each patient.
- The Rehabilitation Center: We work closely with Outpatient Therapy and Physical Therapy to coordinate care for complex patients.
- Clinical Nutrition: We work closely with the Hospital's Dietitians.
Contact Case Management