FREEHOLD, N.J. CentraState Healthcare System in Freehold, N.J., recently opened a 12-bed observation unit adjacent to the ED to decrease patients lengths of stay in the hospital.
First patients must meet established criteria in order to be transferred from the ED to the observation unit, says Linda W. Geisler, RN, MNEd, NEA-BC, vice president of patient services. Once they are transferred, they are under intense observation and undergo necessary testing to determine treatment and discharge or admission.
Three beds are located in a separate area for patients who require isolation. Most of the time patients are discharged within a 24-hour time period, although they can stay up to 48 hours. Over a recent one-week time period, staff treated patients with an average LOS of 34.32 hours per patient. Administration and staff closely monitor patients lengths of stay and watch patient outcomes in the new unit.From left, Sheila Krasnansky, RN, case manager; Anabella Meimban, MST; and Betty Baker, RN, work together on the new observation unit at CentraState.
Throughput coordinator Betty Baker, RN, BC, says patients love our unit because they know that they may be able to go home after testing and treatment. Our patients can rest more comfortably here while they are waiting for test results.
Because of the rapid patient turnover, the observation units computerized ED tracking board is particularly helpful to Baker and staff. At a glance, they can see where patients are, such as if they are out of the unit for testing, their LOS, which lab work and tests have been ordered, what is completed, and what is still pending. The separate computerized ED system gives Baker and staff access to information about admitted ED patients, and the entire hospitals computerized bed management system gives them information about total hospital bed availability and facilitates throughput.