Acute Long-Term Care
Provides specialized acute hospital care to medically complex patients who are critically ill, have multi-system complications and/or failure, and require hospitalization averaging 25 days, in a facility offering specialized treatment programs and therapeutic intervention on a 24/7 basis.
Adult Cardiac Surgery
Provides minimally invasive procedures that include surgery done with only a small incision or no incision at all, such as a laparoscope or an endoscope. Also provides more invasive major surgical procedures that include open chest and open heart surgery in adults.
Adult Day Care Program
Provides supervision, medical and psychological care, and social activities for older adults who live at home or in another family setting, but cannot be alone or prefer to be with others during the day.
Adult Diagnostic/Invasive Catheterization
Used to assist in diagnosing complex heart conditions in adults.
Adult Interventional Cardiac Catheterization
Non-surgical procedure that utilizes the same basic principles as diagnostic catheterization followed by advanced techniques to improve the heart’s function in adults. A less invasive alternative to heart surgery.
Airborne Infection Isolation Room
A single-occupancy room for patient care where environmental factors are controlled in an effort to minimize the transmission of infectious agents. Such rooms typically have specific requirements for controlled ventilation, air pressure, and filtration.
Alcohol & Chemical Dependency Unit
Assists drug addicts and alcoholics in overcoming addictions. These units provide healthcare education and support for the whole family including information about nutrition, diet, counseling, group therapy, etc.
Alzheimer’s Center
Provides care for persons with Alzheimer’s disease and their families through an integrated program of clinical services, research, and education.
Ambulance Services
Provides ambulance services to the ill and injured who require medical attention on a scheduled or unscheduled basis.
Ambulatory Surgery Outpatient Service
Outpatient, same-day surgical procedures provided in a hospital or freestanding ambulatory surgery center.
Angioplasty Department
Handles non-surgical treatment designed to open occluded arteries.
Arthritis Treatment Center
Specifically equipped and staffed center for the diagnosis and treatment of arthritis and other joint disorders.
Assisted Living Department
Responds to the individual needs of people who require help with the activities of daily living, but do not need the skilled medical care provided in a nursing home.
Auxiliary Organization
A volunteer community organization formed to assist the hospital in carrying out its purpose, and to serve as a link between the institution and the community.
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Bariatric/Weight Control Services
Provides specialized care for patients requiring weight reduction treatment.
Birthing Room/LDR Room/LDRP Room
A family-oriented maternal care facility with a homelike decor. The birthing room integrates labor and delivery in one room, while LDR combines three phases: labor, delivery and recovery. In LDRP, four stages of the birth process are included: labor, delivery, recovery and postpartum.
Blood Bank
Draws, processes, stores, and delivers blood to hospital departments.
Breast Cancer Screening/Mammograms
Offers breast cancer screening and education including brochures, pamphlets, videotapes, films, seminars, and counseling.
Burn Care Unit
Equipped and staffed to provide specialized care for severely burned patients. This can consist of treatment of fresh burns, and plastic reconstructive or restorative surgery as a result of healed burns.
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Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory
Provides special diagnostic procedures for cardiac patients.
Cardiac Intensive Care Unit
Unit staffed with specially trained personnel that offers more intensive, focused cardiac care than general medical and surgical care.
Cardiac Rehabilitation
Provides a supervised rehabilitation program for those who have undergone heart surgery or treatment. Programs typically include exercise, counseling, education, dietary, and other lifestyle changes.
Case Management Department
Provides patient case assessment, treatment planning, referral, and follow-up. Usually affiliated with or as a part of the social services department.
Chaplaincy/Pastoral Care Services
Offers patient-centered care through pre-op and post-op visits, crisis counseling, chronic and rehabilitation support service, care for persons facing death, and bereavement care.
An organized program for the treatment of cancer by the use of drugs or chemicals.
Children’s Wellness Program
Offers special activities and healthcare programs designed to meet the needs of younger patients. These include educational programs concerning nutrition and diet, proper health habits, exercise, etc.
Chiropractic Services
An organized clinical service, including spinal manipulation or adjustment, and related diagnostic and therapeutic services.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Provides diagnosis and treatment of pulmonary diseases.
Community Health Reporting Department
Involved in analyzing data concerning disease and healthcare trends, and in reporting the information to the public.
Community Health Status Assessment
A process of determining a community’s healthcare needs by assessing its health status and the demand for healthcare services in a community.
Community Health Status Based Service Planning
Professionals plan and implement the healthcare programs that are the most beneficial in a community by using a number of health status indicators.
Community Outreach Department
Makes health information accessible to surrounding communities. Outreach includes health fairs, seminars, screenings, kiosks, printed information, video, and radio programs.
Complementary Medicine
Organized hospital services or formal arrangements to providers that provide care or treatment not based solely on traditional western allopathic medical teachings as instructed in most U.S. medical schools. Includes any of the following: acupuncture, chiropractic, homeopathy, osteopathy, diet and lifestyle changes, herbal medicine, massage therapy, etc.
Computer Assisted Orthopedic Surgery
Orthopedic surgery using computer technology, enabling three-dimensional graphic models to visualize a patient’s anatomy.
Crisis Prevention
Provides services to help avert conflict, harm, or injury at the earliest moment.
CT Scanner
A computerized tomographic (CT) scanner is a diagnostic tool that utilizes X-rays and a computer to generate cross-sectional images of the body.
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Dental Services
Provides dental or oral care to inpatients or outpatients.
Diagnostic Radioisotope Facility
Uses radioactive isotopes as a diagnostic tool to identify abnormal conditions or disease.
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Electron Beam Computed Tomography
A high-tech computed tomography scan used to detect coronary artery disease by measuring coronary calcifications.
Emergency Department
Treats emergency conditions that arise suddenly and require immediate attention to avoid jeopardy to a patient’s life or health. This list only includes facilities with 24-hour staffing.
Enabling Services
A program designed to help patients access healthcare services by offering linguistic services, transportation services, and/or referrals to local social service agencies.
Enrollment Assistance Services
A program that provides enrollment assistance for patients who are potentially eligible for public health insurance programs such as Medicaid, State Children’s Health Insurance, or local/state indigent care programs.
Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripter (ESWL)
A device that disintegrates kidney stones from outside the body by beaming sound waves at them.
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Fertility Clinic
A specialized program that provides counseling and education, as well as advanced reproductive techniques.
Fitness Center
Provides programs that help people stay healthy through exercise, awareness, prevention, etc. Centers can be tailored for internal (employee) usage, and/or for external (public) use .
Freestanding Ambulatory Care Center
Freestanding facility designed to provide surgical care on an outpatient basis. Facility is located at the hospital, but in a separate building.
Freestanding Satellite Emergency Department
A facility owned and operated by the hospital, but physically separate from the hospital. Provides unscheduled outpatient services to patients whose conditions require treatment.
Full Field Digital Mammography
Combines the x-ray generators and tubes used in analog screen-film mammography with a detector plate that converts the x-rays into a digital signal.
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Genetic Testing
A service equipped with adequate laboratory facilities and directed by a qualified physician to advise parents and prospective parents on potential problems in cases of genetic defects.
Geriatric Services
Concerned with the physiology of aging, including the diagnosis and treatment of diseases that primarily affect the aged.
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Health Facility Transportation
The facility offers transportation to services such as Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, etc.
Health Fair Department
Acquaints the public with hospital services through community health fairs.
Health Information Center
Primarily concerned with the distribution of educational materials to the public, including brochures and pamphlets that list doctors available at the hospital, services provided, etc.
Health Screening Department
Provides information and education to patients by emphasizing the importance of regular health checks to discover indications of problems at the earliest possible opportunity.
Hemodialysis Department
Provides inpatient and outpatient dialysis treatment of renal (kidney) insufficiencies.
Histopathology Laboratory
Laboratory specializing in tissue specimen examination by qualified pathologists.
HIV/AIDS Services
Units specifically designed for people with HIV/AIDS. These departments also offer educational information to the public.
Home Health Services
Offers healthcare services for people in their homes. All services are provided under the direction of the patient’s physician.
Focused on the emotional, social, financial, and legal needs of terminally ill patients and their families. Hospice emphasizes home care for as long as possible, relief from pain, an attractive, non-institutional environment, and personal and family counseling.
Hospital Based Outpatient Care Services
Organized hospital healthcare services offered by appointment on an ambulatory basis.
Hospital Laboratory
Conducts tests ordered by physicians for inpatients.
Hospital Library
Provides materials for research, as well as video tapes, films, books, publications, and periodicals, etc. that can be checked out.
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Image Guided Radiation Therapy
Automated system for image-guided radiation therapy that enables clinicians to obtain high-resolution x-ray images to pinpoint tumor sites, adjust patient positioning when necessary, and complete a treatment, all within the standard treatment time slot, allowing for more effective cancer treatments.
In-House Pharmacy
A pharmacy located inside the hospital.
Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy
A type of three-dimensional radiation therapy, which improves the targeting of treatment delivery in a way that is likely to decrease damage to normal tissues and allows varying intensities. Used to diagnose genetic diseases in newborns, children, and adults; identify future health risks; predict drug responses; and assess risks to future children.
Intermediate Nursing Care
Provides health-related services to residents with a variety of physical conditions or functional disabilities. These residents do not require the care provided by a hospital or skilled nursing facility, but do need supervision and support services.
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Linguistic Translation Services
Services provided to make healthcare more accessible to non-English speaking patients and their physicians.
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Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA)
Specialized medical device that concentrates on the imaging of blood vessels.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
A specialized medical device that employs a magnetic field to study tissue and body structures.
Meals on Wheels
Daily meals are delivered directly to the home for individuals unable to cook for themselves.
Medical Surgical Intensive Care Unit
Provides more intensive patient care than the usual medical and surgical care offered elsewhere in the institution.
Mobile Health Services
Vans and other vehicles used to deliver primary care services.
Multislice Spiral Computed Tomography
Provides three-dimensional processing and allows narrower and multiple slices with increased spatial resolution and faster scanning times compared to a regular computed tomography scan.
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Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
Highly specialized facilities offering comprehensive, 24-hour care for premature and critically ill newborns.
Neonatal Intermediate Care
A unit that must be separate from the normal newborn nursery, and that provides intermediate and/or recovery care and some specialized services.
Neurological Services
Provides operative and non-operative management of disorders of the central, peripheral, and autonomic nervous system.
Nuclear Medicine Department
Provides medical imaging services using radioactive isotopes to diagnose and treat disease.
Nutrition Program Department
Plans meal programs for patients.
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Obstetrics Unit
Offers a wide range of services to expectant mothers, including childbirth and parenting classes, sibling and grandparent programs, car seat rental services, etc.
Occupational Health Services
Includes services designed to protect employees from hazards in the work environment.
Occupational Therapy Services
Instructs patients in self-care, such as bathing and dressing, and in learning ways to maintain daily routines despite their disability. Some duplication with Physical Therapy Services.
Oncology Services
Provides cancer treatment using chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, or drugs.
Open Heart Surgery Services
A specialized department characterized by heart surgery in which the procedure is performed inside the heart.
Orthopedic Surgery Services
Devoted to the treatment of the skeletal system, its joints, muscles, and associated structures.
Other Special Care
Provides care to patients requiring care more intensive than that provided in the acute area, yet not sufficiently intensive to require admission to an intensive care unit. Patients are usually transferred from an intensive care unit. Sometimes referred to as definitive observation, step-down, or progressive care units.
Outpatient Care Center
Services Non-emergency care services offered by appointment on a single-day basis.
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Pain Management Services
Provides scales, tests, and other methods to assess pain severity to aid in diagnosis and therapy.
Palliative Care Program
An organized program providing specialized medical care, drugs, or therapies for the management of acute or chronic pain and/or the control of symptoms. Administered by specially trained physicians and other clinicians. Offers supportive care services, such as counseling on advanced directives, spiritual care, and social services to patients with advanced disease and their families.
Patient Education Center
Provides information to patients including a wide range of educational materials such as brochures, flyers, handouts, videotapes, films, etc. on a variety of healthcare related subjects. Larger hospitals may have multiple directors.
Patient Representative Services
The hospital-based system where patients can seek solutions to problems that occur at the institution.
Patient-Controlled Analgesia
Intravenously administered pain medicine under the patient’s control.
Pediatric Cardiac Surgery
Includes minimally invasive procedures with only a small incision or no incision at all, such as through a laparoscope or an endoscope. Also provides more invasive major surgical procedures that include open chest and open heart surgery in children.
Pediatric Diagnostic/Invasive Catheterization
Used to assist in diagnosing complex heart conditions in children.
Pediatric Intensive Care Unit
Designed to meet the needs of seriously ill children. Around-the-clock visitation and special emotional support are available for families.
Pediatric Interventional Cardiac Catheterization
Non-surgical procedure that utilizes the same basic principles as diagnostic catheterization and then uses advanced techniques to improve the heart’s function in children. A less invasive alternative to heart surgery.
Pediatric Medical-Surgical Care
Provides acute care to pediatric patients on the basis of physicians’ orders and approved nursing care plans.
Pediatric Ward
Includes a medical staff that is especially trained to provide treatment to younger patients.
Physical Rehabilitation
Responsible for overseeing physical therapy programs that help patients attain or retain their maximum functional capacity.
Physical Therapy Services
Provides rehabilitation, patient services, etc. Some duplication with Occupational Therapy Department.
Positron Emission Tomography Scanner (PET)
PET is a diagnostic imaging tool that uses radioactive isotopes to show details of body structures deep within a patient without interference from surrounding tissues.
Positron Emission Tomography Scanner PET/CT
A PET/CT exam not only helps a physician diagnose a problem, it also helps predict the likely outcome of various therapeutic alternatives, pinpoint the best approach to treatment, and monitor progress.
Primary Care Department
Offers primary care such as pediatric, internal medicine, family practice, gynecology, etc. on an outpatient basis.
Psychiatric Care Unit
Provides acute or long-term care to psychiatric patients.
Psychiatric Child Adolescent Services
Provides young patients with complete medical and psychological diagnostic services, behavioral evaluation, family assessment and treatment, one-to-one counseling, group therapy, recreational therapy, occupational therapy, etc.
Psychiatric Consultation-Liaison Services
Psychiatric consultants for staff psychiatrists regarding a specific patient’s care.
Psychiatric Education Services
Provides patients and their families with information and education regarding psychiatric treatment and its results.
Psychiatric Emergency Services
Provides 24-hour emergency care to patients suffering acute emotional and mental distress. This may include diagnosis, evaluation, and crisis intervention.
Psychiatric Geriatric Services
Designed to address the unique healthcare needs of the older population. Programs are individually tailored around the elderly patient who has an acute memory, perception, behavior, or mood problem.
Psychiatric Outpatient Services
Offers comprehensive mental health services to adults and children.
Psychiatric Partial Hospitalization Program
Provides intensive, structured outpatient psychiatric treatment. Patients are able to remain in their home environment while attending treatment on a schedule from one to five days per week.
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Radiation Therapy Department
Provides diagnosis and treatment of a disease using ionizing radiation.
Reproductive Health Services
Offers services for couples seeking help for fertility problems.
Respiratory Therapy Services
Provides services for patients with respiratory diseases or problems, and offers assistance in improving their respiratory functions.
Retirement Housing
Facilities for the elderly that are offered on the campus of the hospital or are hospital owned.
Robotic Surgery
The use of mechanical guidance devices to remotely manipulate surgical instrumentation.
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Shaped Beam Radiation System
A precise, non-invasive treatment that involves targeting beams of radiation at a specific area of a tumor to shrink or destroy cancerous cells.
Single Photon Emission Computerized Tomography Unit
Located in the hospital’s nuclear medicine department or unit, a Single Photon Emission Computerized Tomograph (SPECT) device uses computed tomographic imaging technology to provide a more precise and clear image of a patient’s anatomy.
Skilled Nursing or Other Long-Term Care Unit
Offers sub-acute and long-term care for those requiring post-hospitalization or residential options. Skilled nursing facilities provide long-term and chronic care for patients unable to care for themselves.
Sleep Lab Department
Provides evaluation, testing, diagnosis, and treatment of sleep disorders.
Social Services
Provides coping assistance with the psychological, social, environmental, and financial difficulties that may arise during a patient’s hospitalization.
Speech Therapy Services
Helps individuals overcome speech defects, using a variety of methods.
Sports Medicine Department
Prevention, treatment, and study of injuries received during a patient’s participation in sports.
Sterotactic Radiosurgery
Stereotactic radiosurgery is a radiotherapy modality that delivers a high dosage of radiation to a discrete treatment area in as few as one treatment session. Includes gamma knife, cyberknife, etc.
Subacute Care
Provides a comprehensive and outcome-oriented approach to care for patients requiring short-term or rehabilitation services.
Support Groups
Provide on-going assistance and counseling for those receiving treatment for illnesses such as cancer, drug and alcohol abuse, etc. and their families.
Swing Bed Services
A federally-approved program for small rural hospitals. Designed to be temporary with a patient’s discharge options explored as an ongoing process with family, physicians, and social workers.
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Teen Outreach Services
Focused on building teens’ self-esteem and providing them with positive alternatives to destructive behavior.
Tobacco Treatment/Cessation Programs
Organized hospital services with the purpose of ending tobacco-use habits of patients addicted to tobacco/nicotine.
Transplant Services
Handles transplants of kidney, pancreas, liver, heart, and lung, or bone marrow to replace a diseased organ, and restore function .
Trauma Centers
Provides resuscitation, emergency surgical intervention, diagnostic and medical treatment, and intensive care to critically ill and injured patients.
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Ultrasound Unit
Utilizes a device that employs sound waves to study, image, and diagnose hard-to-reach body areas. The technique is used in every branch of medicine.
Urgent Care Center
Offers treatment for medical problems that are not life-threatening. These centers function like an emergency room, providing some acute care as well as radiology, laboratory, and other similar services.
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Virtual Colonoscopy
Non-invasive screening procedure used to visualize, analyze, and detect cancerous, or potentially cancerous polyps, in the colon.
Volunteer Services Department
Enlists and coordinates volunteers who serve in a variety of areas, including admitting, ambulatory surgery, gift shop, etc.
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Women’s Health Center/Services
An area of the hospital set aside specifically for women. These services offer individualized health counseling tailored to a woman’s specific needs.
Wound Care Unit
Unit of the hospital that specializes in the evaluation and treatment of chronic non-healing wounds.

Accident and emergency (A&E)
This department (sometimes called Casualty) is where you’re likely to be taken if you’ve called an ambulance in an emergency.
It’s also where you should come if you’ve had an accident, but can make your own way to hospital.
These departments operate 24 hours a day, every day and are staffed and equipped to deal with all emergencies.
Patients are assessed and seen in order of need, usually with a separate minor injuries area supported by nurses.
Doctors in this department give anaesthetic for operations.
They are responsible for the provision of:
• acute pain services (pain relief after an operation)
• chronic pain services (pain relief in long-term conditions such as arthritis)
• critical care services (pain relief for those who have had a serious accident or trauma)
• obstetric anaesthesia and analgesia (epidurals in childbirth and anaesthetic for Caesarean sections).
Breast screening
This unit screens women for breast cancer, either through routine mammogram examinations or at the request of doctors. It’s usually linked to an X-ray department.
Term watch
• Outpatient: short visit to hospital that lasts no more than a day.
• Inpatient: hospital visit that requires at least one night’s stay on a ward.
This department provides medical care to patients who have problems with their heart or circulation. It treats people on an inpatient and outpatient basis.
Typical procedures performed include:
• electrocardiogram (ECG) and exercise tests to measure heart function
• echocardiograms (ultrasound scan of the heart)
• scans of the carotid artery in your neck to determine stroke risk
• 24-hour blood pressure tests
• insertion of pacemakers
• cardiac catheterisation (coronary angiography) to see if there are any blocks in your arteries.
Chaplains promote the spiritual and pastoral wellbeing of patients, relatives and staff.
They are available to all members of staff for confidential counsel and support irrespective of religion or race. A hospital chapel is also usually available.
Critical care
Sometimes called intensive care, this unit is for the most seriously ill patients.
It has a relatively small number of beds and is manned by specialist doctors and nurses, as well as by consultant anaesthetists, physiotherapists and dietitians.
Patients requiring intensive care are often transferred from other hospitals or from other departments in the same hospital.
Diagnostic imaging
Formerly known as X-ray, this department provides a full range of diagnostic imaging services including:
• general radiography (X-ray scans)
• scans for A&E
• mammography (breast scans)
• ultrasound scans
• angiography (X-ray of blood vessels)
• interventional radiology (minimally invasive procedures, eg to treat narrowed arteries)
• CT scanning (scans that show cross sections of the body)
• MRI scanning (3D scans using magnetic and radio waves).
Discharge lounge
Many hospitals now have discharge lounges to help your final day in hospital go smoothly.
Patients who don’t need to stay on the ward are transferred to the lounge on the day of discharge. Staff will inform the pharmacy, transport and relatives of your transfer.
To help pass the time, there are usually facilities such as a TV, radio, magazines, puzzles, books and newspapers.
If someone feels unwell while waiting, nurses contact a doctor to come and see you before discharge.
Ear nose and throat (ENT)
The ENT department provides care for patients with a variety of problems, including:
• general ear, nose and throat diseases
• neck lumps
• cancers of the head and neck area
• tear duct problems
• facial skin lesions
• balance and hearing disorders
• snoring and sleep apnoea
• ENT allergy problems
• salivary gland diseases
• voice disorders.
Elderly services department
Led by consultant physicians specialising in geriatric medicine, this department looks after a wide range of problems associated with the elderly. This includes:
• stroke medicine
• gastroenterology
• diabetes
• locomotor (movement) problems
• continence problems
• syncope (fainting)
• bone disease.
It provides a range of services such as home visits, day hospitals and outpatient clinics. The department often has close links with other community services for the elderly.
Endoscopy involves a small thin tube with a camera on the end.
This is guided down the throat to investigate problems in your oesophagus and digestive system.
Small surgical instruments can be guided down in the same way, meaning it can be used for diagnosis and treatment.
Run by consultants specialising in bowel-related medicine, this department investigates and treats upper and lower gastrointestinal disease, as well as diseases of the pancreas and bile duct system.
This includes endoscopy and nutritional services.
Sub-specialities include colerectal surgery, inflammatory bowel disease and swallowing problems.
There are often endoscopy nurse specialists linked to a gastroenterology unit who are able to perform a wide range of bowel investigations.
General surgery
The general surgery ward covers a wide range of surgery and includes:
• day surgery
• thyroid surgery
• kidney transplants
• colon surgery
• laparoscopic cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal)
• endoscopy
• breast surgery.
Day surgery units have a high turnover of patients who attend for minor surgical procedures such as hernia repairs.
These departments investigate and treat problems of the female urinary tract and reproductive organs, such as endometritis, infertility and incontinence.
They also provide a range of care for cervical smear screening and post-menopausal bleeding checks.
They usually have:
• a specialist ward
• day surgery unit
• emergency gynaecology assessment unit
• outpatient clinics.
Haematology services work closely with the hospital laboratory. These doctors treat blood diseases and malignancies linked to the blood, with both new referrals and emergency admissions being seen.
Maternity departments
Women now have a choice of who leads their maternity care and where they give birth. Care can be led by a consultant, a GP or a midwife.
Maternity wards provide antenatal care, care during childbirth and postnatal support.
Antenatal clinics provide monitoring for both routine and complicated pregnancies.
High-dependency units can offer one-to-one care for women who need close monitoring when there are complications in pregnancy or childbirth.
The microbiology department looks at all aspects of microbiology, such as bacterial and viral infections.
They have become increasingly high profile following the rise of hospital-acquired infections, such as MRSA and C. difficile.
A head microbiology consultant and team of microbiologists test patient samples sent to them by medical staff from the hospital and from doctors’ surgeries.
Neonatal unit
Neonatal units have a number of cots that are used for intensive, high-dependency and special care for newborn babies.
It always maintains close links with the hospital maternity department, in the interest of babies and their families.
Neonatal units have the philosophy that, whenever possible, mother and baby should be together.
This department monitors and assesses patients with kidney (renal) problems.
Nephrologists (kidney specialists) will liaise with the transplant team in cases of kidney transplants.
They also supervise the dialysis day unit for people who are waiting for a kidney transplant or who are unable to have a transplant for any reason.
This unit deals with disorders of the nervous system, including the brain and spinal cord. It’s run by doctors who specialise in this area (neurologists) and their staff.
There are also paediatric neurologists who treat children. Neurologists may also be involved in clinical research and clinical trials.
Specialist nurses (epilepsy, multiple sclerosis) liaise with patients, consultants and GPs to help with any problems that may occur between outpatient appointments.
Nutrition and dietetics
Trained dieticians and nutritionists provide specialist advice on diet for hospital wards and outpatient clinics, forming part of a multidisciplinary team.
The department works across a wide range of specialities such as:
• diabetes
• cancer
• kidney problems
• paediatrics
• elderly care
• surgery and critical care
• gastroenterology.
They also provide group education to patients with diabetes, heart disease and osteoarthritis, and work closely with weight management groups.
Obstetrics and gynaecology units
These units provide maternity services such as:
• antenatal and postnatal care
• prenatal diagnosis unit
• maternal and foetal surveillance.
Overseen by consultant obstetricians and gynaecologists, there is a wide range of attached staff linked to them, including specialist nurses, midwives and imaging technicians.
Care can include:
• general inpatient and outpatient treatment
• colposcopy, laser therapy or hysteroscopy for abnormal cervical cells
• psychosexual counselling
• recurrent miscarriage unit
• early pregnancy unit.
Occupational therapy
This profession helps people who are physically or mentally impaired, including temporary disability after medical treatment. It practices in the fields of both healthcare and social care.
The aim of occupational therapy is to restore physical and mental functioning to help people participate in life to the fullest.
Occupational therapy assessments often guide hospital discharge planning, with the majority of patients given a home assessment to understand their support needs.
Staff also arrange provision of essential equipment and adaptations that are essential for discharge from hospital.
This department provides radiotherapy and a full range of chemotherapy treatments for cancerous tumours and blood disorders.
Staffed by specialist doctors and nurses trained in oncology (cancer care), it has close links with surgical and medical teams in other departments.
Eye departments provide a range of ophthalmic services for adults and children, including:
• general eye clinic appointments
• laser treatments
• optometry (sight testing)
• orthoptics (non-surgical treatments, eg for squints)
• prosthetic eye services
• ophthalmic imaging (eye scans).
Orthopaedic departments treat problems that affect your musculoskeletal system. That’s your muscles, joints, bones, ligaments, tendons and nerves.
The doctors and nurses who run this department deal with everything from setting bone fractures to carrying out surgery to correct problems such as torn ligaments and hip replacements.
Orthopaedic trauma includes fractures and dislocations as well as musculoskeletal injuries to soft tissues.
Pain management clinics
Usually run by consultant anaesthetists, these clinics aim to help treat patients with severe long-term pain that appears resistant to normal treatments.
Depending on the hospital, a wide range of options are available, such as acupuncture, nerve blocks and drug treatment.
The hospital pharmacy is run by pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and attached staff.
It’s responsible for drug-based services in the hospital, including:
• the purchasing, supply and distribution of medication and pharmaceuticals
• inpatient and outpatient dispensing
• clinical and ward pharmacy
• the use of drugs.
A pharmacy will provide a drug formulary for hospital doctors to use as a guide. It will also help supervise any clinical trial management and ward drug-use review.
Physiotherapists promote body healing, for example after surgery, through therapies such as exercise and manipulation.
This means they assess, treat and advise patients with a wide range of medical conditions. They also provide health education to patients and staff on how to do things more easily.
Their services are provided to patients on the wards, in the physiotherapy department itself and in rehabilitation units.
Physiotherapists often work closely with orthopaedic teams.
Run by a combination of consultant doctors and specially trained radiotherapists, this department provides radiotherapy (X-ray) treatment for conditions such as malignant tumours and cancer.
Renal unit
Closely linked with nephrology teams at hospitals, these units provide haemodialysis treatment for patients with kidney failure. Many of these patients are on waiting lists for a kidney transplant.
They also provide facilities for peritoneal dialysis and help facilitate home haemodialysis.
Specialist doctors called rheumatologists run the unit and are experts in the field of musculoskeletal disorders (bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles and nerves).
Their role is to diagnose conditions and recommend appropriate treatment, if necessary from the orthopaedic department.
The rheumatologist may need to review you regularly, either in person or via one of the rheumatology team.
Alternatively, your condition may be one your GP can manage in the community. Many conditions are managed jointly between the GP and the hospital care team.
Sexual health (genitourinary medicine)
This department provides a free and confidential service offering:
• advice, testing and treatment for all sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
• family planning care (including emergency contraception and free condoms)
• pregnancy testing and advice.
It also provides care and support for other sexual and genital problems.
Patients are usually able to phone the department directly for an appointment and don’t need a referral letter from their GP.
The urology department is run by consultant urology surgeons and their surgical teams. It investigates all areas linked to kidney and bladder-based problems.
The department performs:
• flexible cystoscopy bladder checks
• urodynamic studies (eg for incontinence)
• prostate assessments and biopsies
• shockwave lithotripsy to break up kidney stones.
Dr Roger Henderson

The main, and most common, hospital departments include:
Accident and emergency (A&E) – Also called Casualty Department, where you’re likely to be taken if you have arrived in an ambulance or emergency situation.
Admissions – At the Admitting Department, the patient will be required to provide personal information and sign consent forms before being taken to the hospital unit or ward. If the individual is critically ill, then, this information is usually obtained from a family member.
Anaesthetics – Doctors in this department give anaesthetic for operations and procedures. An anaesthetic is a drug or agent that produces a complete or partial loss of feeling. There are three kinds of anaesthetic: general, regional and local.
Breast Screening – Screens women for breast cancer and is usually linked to the X-ray or radiology department.
Cardiology – Provides medical care to patients who have problems with their heart or circulation.
Chaplaincy – Chaplains promote the spiritual and pastoral wellbeing of patients, relatives and staff.
Critical Care – Also called intensive care, this department is for seriously ill patients.
Diagnostic Imaging – Also known as X-Ray Department and/or Radiology Department.
Elderly services – Covers and assists with a wide range of issues associated with seniors.
Gastroenterology – This department investigates and treats digestive and upper and lower gastrointestinal diseases.
General Services – Support Services include services provided by Departments such as Portering, Catering, Housekeeping, Security, Health & Safety, Switch, Laundry and the management of facilities such as parking, baby tagging, access control, CCTV etc.
General Surgery – Covers a wide range of types of surgery and procedures on patients.
Gynaecology – Investigates and treats problems relating to the female urinary tract and reproductive organs, such as endometritis, infertility and incontinence.
Haematology – These hospital services work with the laboratory. In addition doctors treat blood diseases and malignancies related to the blood.
Health & Safety – The role of the occupational health and safety department is to promote and maintain the highest possible degree of health and safety for all employees, physicians, volunteers, students and contractors, and actively participates in quality, safety and risk initiatives. Numerous health and safety issues associated with healthcare facilities include bloodborne pathogens and biological hazards, potential chemical and drug exposures, waste anesthetic gas exposures, respiratory hazards, ergonomic hazards from lifting and repetitive tasks, laser hazards, hazards associated with laboratories, and radioactive material and x-ray hazards. In addition to the medical staff, large healthcare facilities employ a wide variety of trades that have health and safety hazards associated with them. These include mechanical maintenance, medical equipment maintenance, housekeeping, food service, building and grounds maintenance, laundry, and administrative staff.
Human Resources – role is to provide a professional, efficient and customer focused service to managers and staff and in turn facilitate the delivery of a professional, efficient and customer focused service to patients.
Infection Control – Primarily responsible for conducting surveillance of hospital-acquired infections and investigating and controlling outbreaks or infection clusters among patients and health care personnel. The department calculates rates of hospital-acquired infections, collates antibiotic susceptibility data, performs analysis of aggregated infection data and provides comparative data to national benchmarks over time.
Information Management – Meaningful infromation can be used in quality management, continuous quality improvement and peer review. By improving the quality of information, core data can be provided for randomised clinical trials, outcomes research and many studies.
Maternity – Maternity wards provide antenatal care, delivery of babies and care during childbirth, and postnatal support.
Microbiology – The microbiology department provides an extensive clinical service, including mycology, parasitology, mycobacteriology, a high security pathology unit, and a healthcare associated infection investigation unit, as well as routine bacteriology and an expanding molecular diagnostic repertoire.
Neonatal – Closely linked with the hospital maternity department, provides care and support for babies and their families.
Nephrology – Monitors and assesses patients with various kidney (renal) problems and conditions.
Neurology – A medical specialty dealing with disorders of the nervous system. Specifically, it deals with the diagnosis and treatment of all categories of disease involving the central, peripheral, and autonomic nervous systems, including their coverings, blood vessels, and all effector tissue, such as muscle. Includes the brain, spinal cord, and spinal cord injuries (SCI).
Nutrition and Dietetics – Dieticians and nutritionists provide specialist advice on diet for hospital wards and outpatient clinics.
Obstetrics/Gynaecology – Specialist nurses, midwives and imaging technicians provide maternity services such as: antenatal and postnatal care, maternal and foetal surveillance, and prenatal diagnosis.
Occupational Therapy – Helps physically or mentally impaired people, including temporary disability, practices in the fields of both healthcare as well as social care. Often abbreviated as “OT”, Occupational Therapy promotes health by enabling people to perform meaningful and purposeful occupations. These include (but are not limited to) work, leisure, self care, domestic and community activities. Occupational therapists work with individuals, families, groups and communities to facilitate health and well-being through engagement or re-engagement in occupation.
Oncology – A branch of medicine that deals with cancer and tumors. A medical professional who practices oncology is an oncologist. The Oncology department povides treatments, including radiotherapy and chemotherapy, for cancerous tumours and blood disorders.
Ophthalmology – Ophthalmology is a branch of medicine which deals with the diseases and surgery of the visual pathways, including the eye, hairs, and areas surrounding the eye, such as the lacrimal system and eyelids. The term ophthalmologist is an eye specialist for medical and surgical problems. The Ophthalmology department provides a range of ophthalmic eye related services for both in and outpatients.
Orthopaedics – Treats conditions related to the musculoskeletal system, including joints, ligaments, bones, muscles, tendons and nerves.
Otolaryngology (Ear, Nose, and Throat) – The ENT Department provide comprehensive and specialised care covering both Medical and Surgical conditions related not just specifically to the Ear, Nose and Throat, but also other areas within the Head and Neck region. It is often divided into sub-specialities dealing with only one part of the traditional speciality (otology, rhinology and laryngology).
Pain Management – Helps treat patients with severe long-term pain. Alternative pain relief treatments such as acupuncture, nerve blocks and drug treatment, are also catered for.
Patient Accounts – The Patient Accounts Department answers all billing questions and concerns, requests for itemized bills, and account balance inquiries. The patient accounts department also assists patients in their insurance benefits for services rendered.
Patient Services – The Patient Services Manager is a source of information and can channel patient queries in relation to hospital services to the appropriate departments.
Pharmacy – Responsible for drugs in a hospital, including purchasing, supply and distribution.
Physiotherapy – Physiotherapists work through physical therapies such as exercise, massage, and manipulation of bones, joints and muscle tissues.
Purchasing & Supplies – Purchasing & Supplies Department is responsible for the procurement function of the hospital.
Radiology – The branch or specialty of medicine that deals with the study and application of imaging technology like x-ray and radiation to diagnosing and treating disease. The Department of Radiology is a highly specialized, full-service department which strives to meet all patient and clinician needs in diagnostic imaging and image-guided therapies.
Radiotherapy – Also called radiation therapy, is the treatment of cancer and other diseases with ionizing radiation.
Renal – Provides facilities for peritoneal dialysis and helps facilitate home haemodialysis.
Rheumatology – Rheumatologists care for and treat patients for musculoskeletal disorders such as: bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles and nerves.
Sexual Health – Also known as genitourinary medicine – Provides advice, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, family planning care, pregnancy testing and advice, care and support for sexual and genital problems.
Social Work – Clinical social workers help patients and their families deal with the broad range of psychosocial issues and stresses related to coping with illness and maintaining health. Social workers, resource specialists and advocates form a network that addresses the challenges families face, increases accessibility to health care and other human services, and serves as a bridge between the hospital setting and a patient’s family life, home and community.
Urology – The urology department is run by consultant urology surgeons and investigates areas linked to kidney and bladder conditions.

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