In an effort to alleviate overcrowding in the Emergency Department (ED) and ensure that patients get the medical care they need in a comfortable environment, Cooper University Hospital has opened the new Clinical Decision Unit (CDU). This unit is for low risk patients who require further observation before a decision can be made to admit them to the hospital or send them home. Now, instead of spending the night in the ED, these patients get the observation they need in a hospital room on the CDU.
The CDU consists of 18 beds on the tenth floor of the hospital equipped with telemetry capability. “The patients who are transferred there are patients first seen in the ED. These patients require observation and evaluation to determine whether they need to be admitted to the hospital or discharged after a period of observation,” said Gina Marone, R.N., M.S.N., Senior Director of Patient Care Services. “Examples of some of the most common ailments that require further observation are asthma, low risk chest pain or abdominal pain, mild congestive heart failure, pneumonia and dehydration.”
The CDU staff is a multi-specialty team of physicians, nurses and case managers who are focused on quickly providing the necessary clinical tests to enable patients to progress efficiently with their care. The goal is to evaluate a patient and make a decision within 24 hours. “We safely expedite our patients’ care through their course of treatment in the hospital in order to get them back home or admit them if indicated,” Marone explained. “The CDU’s focus enables us to accomplish this while also being fiscally prudent with hospital resources, which is an added benefit.”