As part of its Emergency Department expansion plan, in June of 2019 Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital celebrated the grand opening of the first six beds in its Emergency Department Observation Unit. In March of 2022, the project was complete when six additional beds were opened on the unit, bringing the total number of Emergency Department observation beds to 12.
Located on the fifth floor of the main building, the unit features all-private rooms in two 6-bed pods. The space is specifically designed to serve patients assigned to observation by the attending physician after initial evaluation and management in the Emergency Department.
“The Observation Unit serves patients who need just a little more time in the ED, but don’t need to be admitted as an inpatient,” explains Emergency Department Nurse Director Robin Powell, MSN, RN, CEN. “These may include patients with abdominal pain, asthma/COPD, atrial fibrillation, back pain, cellulitis, chest pain, dehydration, diabetic problems, flank pain, GI bleed, headache, neurologic complaints or pneumonia, among others.”
Powell says the original plan for opening 12 beds in the Observation Unit was slightly delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “We are thrilled to now open the space for the intended purpose,” she says. “Our goal is to admit 12 observation patients to the unit and decrease the number of observation patients admitted to the general medicine service, thereby making further space to admit our medical patients to the 6th and 7th floors.”
In the Observation Unit, patients receive regular clinical rounding by emergency medicine and nursing specialists, medication administration, diagnostic testing, care coordination and social worker support, as well as consultation services when needed, all while reducing crowding in the main Emergency Department.
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