Often, you may have heard medical consultants talk about the levels of care. These are fundamental categories of care divided into levels; primary care, secondary care, tertiary care and quaternary care. Every one of these levels defines the intricacy of a medical case under treatment and also the expertise of the medical specialists dealing with it.
As a patient, you’ll hear these terms being used by doctors, nurses and other medical care providers. As such, it’s better to know what they mean so you can have a better understanding of the medical system and know about the level of care you’ll receive. In this article, we will explain which healthcare professional is typically a secondary care provider, as well as some details about other levels of medical care.
Most of you would already be familiar with primary medical care, which is the foremost and detailed examination of symptoms and other health-related concerns. You may consult your doctor about symptoms of a disease or when you contract a cold, influenza or infection of some sort.
You may also go to the doctor for a broken bone, skin infection or any other illness. This is considered primary, or essential, medical care. It may comprise doctors, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and some primary medical care specialists. Paediatricians, geriatricians, and others are all primary medical care specialists.
Secondary medical care comprises specialists – medical care providers that have expertise in a certain field of medical care. Secondary medical care providers are focused on a certain system of the body or a certain ailment only. Secondary medical care is what you receive when you have a complicated illness that goes beyond a primary medical care provider’s area of expertise.
For instance, cardiologists are secondary medical care specialists because they only deal with ailments that are related to the heart. Secondary medical care providers often coordinate with primary medical care providers to ensure that the patients receive the utmost consultation.
Tertiary medical care is only required if a patient is hospitalized. At this point, it becomes a matter of life and death, so highly specialized equipment and expertise are necessary. Here, you’ll find surgeons that perform complicated operations, such as haemodialysis, plastic surgeries and neuro surgeries.
Tertiary medical care often comprises the treatment of chronic ailments, such as diabetes or kidney disease. As such, your local hospital will probably not be able to provide these facilities and you’ll be relocated to a medical centre with cutting-edge equipment and highly specialized medical care providers.
Quaternary medical care is recognized as an extension of tertiary medical care. It’s more complicated and uncommon, which is why you won’t see hospitals or medical centres providing quaternary medical care often.
Being a well-informed patient means that you’ll be able to navigate your way through the medical system more easily and won’t run into any confusion with the medical care providers. You have to be sure which healthcare professional is typically a secondary care provider.
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