Aiken Regional Medical Centers has opened the Clinical Decision Unit (CDU), a specialized observation unit for patients who visit the Emergency Department and require further management to determine the need for an inpatient admission. The CDU is open to provide accelerated healthcare services to patients who require care beyond their initial evaluation and management in the Emergency Department.
“An extension of the Primary Heart Attack Center Certification recently achieved by Aiken Regional, the observation unit will enhance the care of patients presenting with chest pain,” said Ansermo Arthur, MD, FACC, Interventional Cardiologist at Aiken Regional Medical Centers and with Carolina Heart and Vascular Center. “It is a specialized floor designed to focus on cardiac evaluations by offering cutting edge technology, such as nuclear stress testing and cardiac coronary computer tomography (CTA). These non-invasive tests will provide the cardiologist's and internal medicine physicians with the necessary tools to expedite the evaluation of patients presenting with chest pain and other cardiovascular related problems.”
“If we’re able to rule out a serious cardiac condition and pain is not associated with the heart, the patient may not need to be admitted,” said Bridget Denzik, Chief Nursing Officer at Aiken Regional Medical Centers. “The goal is to answer this question faster and just as safely as if admitted; that’s when the observation unit would be utilized to run the definitive tests necessary. Today, a patient can spend multiple days in the hospital to determine whether or not they have a cardiac condition. The goal of the observation unit is to provide high-quality, comprehensive care during an eight-to-24-hour length of stay to determine the patient’s condition and provide the appropriate care quicker.”
The observation unit provides evaluation, monitoring, and diagnostic and treatment services. A patient may be considered for care in the observation unit if he/she demonstrates chest pain, heart failure, syncope, arrhythmia, transient ischemic attack, deep vein thrombosis or asthma; but this list is not all inclusive.
The observation unit has six staffed beds, is managed by hospitalists and is under the nursing leadership of a nursing director. The goal is to open to 14 staffed beds in the near future.