Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Milton (BID-Milton) recently opened a new Clinical Decision Unit for the medical management of patients whose treatment and diagnosis are anticipated to take approximately 24 hours and are thus considered outpatient in nature. The CDU was opened in a newly refurbished 15-bed area, part of the hospital’s 2North Nursing Unit.
According to Lynn Cronin, RN, vice president of nursing, prior to opening the CDU, patients whose conditions required further evaluation and treatment before a diagnosis was established could remain in the hospital’s Emergency Department for up to 24 hours or longer. The new CDU provides patients with a quieter, dedicated area away from the Emergency Department which facilitates testing and treatment to determine a diagnosis. Once a diagnosis is made, the patient’s physician can then make the decision whether the patient will be discharged home or admitted to the hospital as an inpatient.
“Certain medical conditions require extensive testing in order to determine the exact nature of the problem. Often times this testing can take many hours.” explained Ms. Cronin. “The hospital’s new CDU unit has been specifically designed to provide these tests and treatments in a patient-centered, non-emergency care environment, so the patient can be safely discharged home as quickly as possible if an inpatient admission is not required.”
Medical conditions that can be typically diagnosed and treated on an observation status include unexplained fainting (syncope), cellulitis, allergic reactions, dehydration, acute pain management and asthma, among others.
While in the CDU, patients are cared for by physicians, physician assistants, nurses and other clinical support staff. In addition to diagnostic tests, such as CT scans or blood work, patients may also receive respiratory treatments, wound care, physical therapy or IV medications on the unit.