Observation Unit for outpatients in the Emergency Department
High quality emergency care, no hospital admission required
Traditionally, patients who needed services beyond the Emergency Department (ED) were admitted as inpatients. Healthcare reform has led to a different approach in ensuring safe, quality care is delivered to patients. Thus “observation” medicine has become an important part of modern day emergency medicine.
Observation Services monitor the patient’s condition and provide diagnostic tests to determine if the patient needs admission to the hospital as an inpatient or whether the patient can be discharged. Observation services may be provided in the Observation Unit of the hospital located adjacent to the Emergency Department. The length of stay for an observation patient is 8 to 24 hours.
Am I Inpatient or Outpatient?
You’re an inpatient starting the day you’re formally admitted to the hospital with a doctor’s order. The day before you’re discharged is your last inpatient day. You’re an outpatient if you’re getting emergency department services, observation services, outpatient surgery, lab tests, or X-rays and the doctor hasn’t written an order to admit you to the hospital as an inpatient. In these cases, you’re an outpatient even if you spend the night at the hospital.