After a trial run this week, Providence St Patrick Hospital will be officially unveiling their innovative new Clinical Decision Unit on Monday, October 5.

Chief Nursing Officer Carol Bensen described the purpose of the new unit that is adjacent to the new Emergency Department at Providence St. Patrick Hospital.

“It’s a place to do observation medicine,” said Bensen. “We have a 10 bed unit with all the equipment that we can use for any type of patient care and the patients come in through the emergency department. They are triaged, and treated by the emergency physician, and then if maybe the patient isn't quite ready to go home, but we aren't sure if they need inpatient admission, they can come over here to the observation unit. There we can do additional interventions, additional medications, additional diagnostic testing with the intent to determine whether or not they require inpatient admission.”

Bensen said one of the advantages of the new unit is to increase overall patient capacity.

“One of the best advantages of this unit is that it gives us 10 additional beds to be able to treat patients,” she said. “Right now, these types of patients go upstairs and they take an inpatient bed, so it really gives us 10 more beds up on the inpatient units to use for patients who require inpatient care. This way, we've expanded the capacity in the hospital by 10 beds by having this unit.”

Bensen pointed out another advantage of the new CDU.

“The other advantage is that it allows us to improve our throughput in the emergency department because instead of keeping a patient in the emergency department for a longer period of time for additional treatments, we can bring them over here and then that opens up that ED bed for additional emergency patients that can be seen.”

Bensen said the trial run for the new unit has been going on all this week.

“It's all new construction outside of the emergency department and we will be opening on Monday, so we're currently doing a trial for this workflow,” she said. “As I mentioned previously, we're already providing this type of nursing care and medical care up on the inpatient unit. So we develop a lot of new workflows to be able to expedite the care and be able to expedite the patient's length of stay, so they don't have to be here that long. So we're doing a pilot this week with the nurses who will be caring for these patients kind of modifying those workflows as we're finding some glitches in order to be able to have it function effectively when we open up on Monday.”

The new unit will be open 24/7 and will be staffed by trained observation nurses, hospitalists, and a social worker.

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