The Valley Hospital’s Clinical Decision Unit (CDU) is an observation unit for patients who, according to their physician’s determination, do not meet criteria set by insurance companies for an inpatient hospital admission, but who require 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, the medical team provides personalized care for each patient based on the progression of their clinical condition.

The CDU provides patients with comprehensive care, including intensive case management, and shortens the time a patient stays in the Emergency Department. This allows patients to rest and heal away from the hustle and bustle of the Emergency Department. 

As a patient’s condition and medical needs are frequently assessed and guided by test findings, their admission status may convert from “observation” to “inpatient.” About 20 percent of “observation” stays do convert to an “inpatient” admission.

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. 

Discharge from the CDU

When a patient is ready to be discharged, Valley’s Care Transitions department assesses each patient’s discharge planning needs and assists with connecting patients and their families to services in the community.