Hospital is a word derived from the Latin word hospitalis that comes from hospes, meaning host. The English word hospital hospital comes from the French word hospitale , it establishes a temporary occupation by the sick and the injured.

Difference between hospital and an industrial organization

Even though hospital is compared to an industrial organization, it has distinct difference. In hospital the decision is made by the patient, he/she is ill and requires services which cannot be provided at home. A patient when feeling ill approaches hospital, leaving his home, family, workplace and stays in a new environment. He becomes one in many. The patient role is definite, and it is similar to other thirty patients. When they stay longer, they will be housed with strangers, he undergoes new set of values and a new way of life. In this period, they meet many people and try communicating with them. A hospital deals with the life, suffering, recovery, and death of human beings.

Classification of hospitals

Hospitals have been classified in many ways,

  • Length of stay of patients
  • Clinical basis
  • Ownership control basis

Classification according to length of stay of patients

  • Short term: A patient stays for only short period of time, less than a week. Example: pneumonitis, appendicitis, gastroenteritis, etc
  • Long term: A patient stays for a longer period like a month or more than that. Example: tuberculosis, cancer, schizophrenia, etc

Classification according to clinical basis

Some hospitals are licensed as general hospitals or specialized hospitals. In general hospitals treatment is given to common diseases such as pneumonitis, typhoid, fever, etc. In specialized hospitals treatment is given only for a particular disease such as heart diseases, cancer, tuberculosis, maternity, etc.

Classification according to ownership/control

Based on ownership hospitals is divided into four categories,

  • Public hospitals
  • Voluntary hospitals
  • Private nursing homes
  • Corporate hospitals

Public hospitals

These are run by central government, state government or local bodies on non-commercial lines. These hospitals can be general, specialized or it can be both. General hospitals provide treatment for common diseases like fever, cold but it is not licensed to treat infectious-diseased patients. Specialized hospitals provide treatments for specific diseases like infectious disease, cancer, eye disease, psychiatric ailments.

A specialised hospital

Voluntary hospitals

It is established and incorporated under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 or public trust act 1882 or any other appropriate act of the central or state government. They are run with public or private funds on a non-commercial basis. No profit goes to any organization, trustee, any individual. These kinds of hospitals are managed by prominent members of the community and retired high officials of the government. They get reasonably high fees from rich patients and very little from poor patients. The main source of revenue is from public and private donations. It basically run on a no profit, no loss basis.

Private nursing homes

It is generally owned by an individual doctor or a group of doctors. They provide treatments for advanced age, illness, injury, chronic disability, etc. They won’t give treatments for communicable diseases, alcoholism, drug addiction or mental illness. These nursing homes are becoming more popular because rich people don’t like to visit public hospitals due to reasons like standing in a queue for longer period and shortage of nursing staffs.

Corporate hospitals

The concept of these kind of hospitals is public limited companies formed under the Companies Act. They are normally run-on commercial lines, it can either general or specialized or both.

Classification according to directory of hospitals

The Directory of hospitals in India-1998 lists the various types of hospitals like,

General hospital

All establishments permanently staffed by at least two or more medical officers, which offer in patient accommodation and provide active medical and nursing care for more than one category of medical discipline ex: general medicine, general surgery, obstetrics.

Rural hospitals

Hospitals located in rural areas permanently staffed by at least one or more physicians, which offer in patient accommodation and provide active medical and nursing care for more than one category of medical discipline ex: general medicine, general surgery, obstetrics.

Specialized hospitals

It provides treatments for only one discipline or specific diseases like ENT, eyes, leprosy, mental, cancer, infectious disease.

Teaching hospitals

College is attached along with these kind of hospital for medical/dental education.

Isolation hospitals

Only patients affected from infectious disease requiring for isolation are admitted in these hospitals.

Patient in an isolation ward

Tertiary hospital

States and central governments set up tertiary hospitals in their capitals where referred patients are treated such as AIIMS, New Delhi, P.G.I. Chandigarh, Sanjay Gandhi, P.G.I, Lucknow, etc.

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