A hospital is a health care facility that provides patient treatment by specialized healthcare staff and medical equipment. It is a place that has both inpatient and outpatient services. They are typically a complex of wards and departments that specialize in different types of patient treatment. Some hospitals also have chronic treatments such as psychiatric and nursing facilities.
In most developed countries, hospitals are funded and operated by governmental sources. They receive their construction and operating costs through a variety of mechanisms, including general funds from local governments, donations from individuals or companies, and insurance charges collected from subscribers. In some cases, they receive additional funds from a public or private source that pays for patients who are not insured.
Often, hospitals are governed by boards that answer to a regional hospital board or local health authority. In some countries, hospitals are run by religious orders or by organizations that provide services to specific groups of people.
Hospitals may be categorized by their ownership and control, service rendered, and size. The most common classification is a general hospital, which is usually the region’s primary healthcare facility. Others include trauma centers, children’s hospitals, rehabilitation hospitals, seniors’ (geriatric) hospitals, and specialized hospitals for certain medical conditions.
Specialized hospitals are a way to reduce the costs of health care for certain groups or diseases, especially those that require intensive and long-term treatment. Some specialized hospitals are owned and operated by nongovernmental entities such as insurance carriers.
Some hospitals are specialized in a particular area of medicine such as surgery, radiology, or emergency medicine. A teaching hospital is a type of hospital that combines a clinical environment with classroom-like areas for the training of future physicians, nurses, and allied health professionals.
Many hospitals have departments, headed by a chief nursing officer or director of nursing, that are responsible for the administration of professional nursing practice and research. They also regulate nursing and other related activities such as disclosure of information, health records, and technical support. Other units within hospitals may have both a nursing and medical director, such as an intensive care nursery.
The operation of a hospital can be very rewarding for nurses, as it allows them to use their skills to care for their patients. For example, if they are in charge of making beds for the hospital’s clients, they must be skilled in preparing the bed according to their patients’ needs and using scientific nursing concepts.
Other benefits of hospitals are the availability of diagnostic tests and drugs, as well as a trained medical staff. They are staffed with professional physicians, surgeons, nurses, and other allied healthcare practitioners.
Increasing ER traffic can be a problem, particularly in rural areas. Moreover, ER crowding is linked to higher in-hospital mortality rates and delays in the delivery of timely care. This can be caused by a variety of factors, such as an over-supply of emergency room personnel and a lack of physicians’ time to respond to the volume of incoming calls. In addition, a high percentage of ER visits are made by low-income populations. Several studies have shown that these populations suffer more than their healthy counterparts from ER crowding, and are less likely to be seen by physicians in a timely manner.