The Valley Hospital Emergency Services Department has created a specialized unit called the Clinical Decision Unit (or Observation Unit*). A patient may be admitted to the CDU as an “observation” patient if it has been determined by the patient’s physician that the patient does not meet criteria set by insurance companies for an “inpatient” admission, but the patient requires further testing and/or monitoring before they can either be admitted to the hospital as an “inpatient” or discharged home. During a patient’s “observation” stay, our medical team will provide necessary care for each patient based on the progression of his or her clinical condition.
The goal of the CDU is to provide patients with comprehensive care, including intensive case management. By observing patients on the CDU, we are able to shorten the time that patients are in the Emergency Department (ED). This will allow patients to rest and heal away from the hustle and bustle of the ED. As a patient’s condition and medical needs are frequently assessed and guided by test findings, a patient’s admission status may convert from “observation” to “inpatient”. About 20 percent of “observation” stays do convert to an “inpatient” admission.
All patients at The Valley Hospital are offered information about discharge planning options, whether they are in the Emergency Room, the CDU or on an inpatient medical unit, regardless of their admission status. It is important to note that some “observation” patients may be admitted to an “inpatient” medical unit due to a special medical need (e.g., a patient with a fractured leg may be transferred to our orthopedic unit) or due to room availability. A patient’s stay on an “inpatient” unit does not necessarily equate with an “inpatient” admission status. It is recommended that patients and families speak with their medical team, including their case manager, regarding their admission status. Also, some patients may be admitted to an inpatient unit with an “inpatient” order status, but sometimes this is changed to “observation” due to further assessment of their medical condition and review of admission criteria set by their insurance company. The Case Management/Social Work Department assesses each patient’s needs for discharge and assists with connecting patients and their families to services in the community. For more information, click HERE for Discharge Planning Information.