Caregiver Roles

Caregiver Roles for Cardiothoracic Surgery

An entire team of dedicated professionals is responsible for your child's care. You may contact any of your child's caregivers at any time to answer your questions. Following are brief descriptions of the people you are likely to meet while you’re here:


A group of physicians will visit your child, which may include an attending physician, residents and medical students. The attending physician is responsible for ensuring your child’s care. He or she supervises the care provided by the residents and medical students.


Nurse Practitioner

This professional is a registered nurse with an advanced degree and additional training. In addition to the regular duties of the RN, the nurse practitioner may order and complete certain procedures and treatments, as well as supervise day-to-day medical care for some patients. The nurse practitioner works under the supervision of the attending physician.

Registered Nurse (RN)

Along with the physician, the RN is responsible for assessing, planning, providing and evaluating your child’s care. The RN directs and coordinates other team members to make sure that everything runs smoothly.

Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN)

The LVN performs or assists in many treatments, gives medications, and provides most of your child's basic care. The LVN works under direct supervision of the RN.

Patient Care Service Aide (PCSA)

The PCSA gives basic care. This includes taking vital signs (temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure), bathing patients, providing transportation to tests in other areas (e.g. x-ray), helping with meals and changing bed linens. The PCSA works under the direct supervision of the RN.

Language and Cultural Specialist/Interpreter

The hospital provides interpretive services to patients and families in virtually any language. Please ask your nurse or call Ext. 2596.

Patient Care Coordinator

The hospital has two types of patient care coordinators to manage many aspects of your child’s care, from before admission until after discharge. A Clinical Care Coordinator may be assigned to coordinate your child’s care during hospitalization. A Case Manager is assigned if your child’s care is more complex and requires return visits to the hospital or outpatient specialty clinics.


The registered dietitian and dietetic technician design meals that fit your child's nutritional needs as determined by the diagnosis; religious, ethnic or cultural preferences; food allergies; and feeding tube requirements. To discuss your child's diet, please contact a dietitian at Ext. 12449.


Many kinds of therapists may join your child's healthcare team. These include physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, respiratory therapists and psychologists.

Pain Management Team

Your child has a right to experience the least pain possible. Pain management is a priority at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. Team members consult with your doctor and nurse to control your child’s pain and make him or her as comfortable as possible.

Technologists and Technicians

Blood tests, x-rays, and other procedures may be necessary. Specially trained technologists and technicians perform these tests.

Child Life Specialists

These professionals are trained to address your child’s emotional, social and developmental needs. They provide therapeutic play, psychological and medical preparation for procedures and surgery, sibling preparation and support. You may request Child Life services by asking a doctor, nurse or social worker, dialing Ext. 12355, or calling 323-361-2355.

Social Workers

Our social workers are on-call 24 hours a day to help you and your child deal with the emotional, financial and other stresses of hospitalization and illness. These caregivers can refer you to social service agencies, support groups and other community resources. You may request a social worker at any time by asking your doctor or nurse, dialing Ext. 12485, or calling 323-361-2485.


School-aged children hospitalized for two weeks or more will be assigned a teacher with the Los Angeles Unified School District to help keep up with schoolwork. Ask your nurse to contact the hospital's teachers, dial Ext. 12210, or call 323-361-2210.

Spiritual Care Services

Our chaplains are available for the spiritual support of all faith traditions. Call Ext. 2482. Also, ministers or religious leaders from your own faith community are encouraged to visit you or your child. The Interfaith Meditation Room and Chapel is on the First Floor near the Giraffe elevators.

Patient and Family Advocate/Patient Relations Specialist

Our goal is to provide the best care and service possible. If you have questions or concerns about your child’s care, ask any member of the health care team. If you need further assistance, or would like to file a grievance, call Ext. 14682 or 323-361-4682 to speak with a member of our Patient Relations team.

Ethics Resource Committee

This multidisciplinary group is available to patients, families and staff for guidance if ethical dilemmas arise. You can reach a member of the Committee by dialing Ext. 12270, or calling 323-361-2270.