Hospitals across the country have been trying to decide how to treat patients who enter an emergency department not well enough for immediate discharge but not sick enough to be admitted as an inpatient. At Capital Health, the answer is an observation unit.
“Research shows us that the use of observation units improves patient outcomes and reduces healthcare costs by avoiding unnecessary admissions. Additionally, the units provide a more appropriate environment than the emergency room for those who require extended evaluation and care,” said Eileen Horton, vice president of Patient Services and Chief Nursing Officer at Capital Health.
As the safety net for the emergency department, the observation unit is a place where most patients are watched for complaints such as chest pain, fainting, fluid and electrolyte disorders, and abdominal pain to name a few.
“The goal for most patients is to be under observation for less than 48 hours before determining if admission is necessary or if the patient is stable and ready for discharge,” said Dr. Jessica Codjoe, medical director of the Observation Units at Capital Health.
The observation unit at Capital Health Medical Center – Hopewell opened on June 2, and will be followed shortly thereafter with the opening of the observation unit at Capital Health Regional Medical Center.