Nurses at A.O. Fox Memorial Hospital said Monday they are excited about a new 14-bed observation unit opening Wednesday that will increase efficiency and privacy and improve the overall patient experience.
The creation of the observation unit is the final phase of Fox’s “Gold Standard of Patient Care” modernization project, which began in February 2013. The renovations were specifically intended to convert many of the hospital’s double-bed rooms to single-occupancy and were funded, in part, by an $8.7 million Healthcare Efficiency and Affordability Law grant from the state, according to Robbin Scobie, Fox’s vice president of nursing. Another $1.5 million was donated by community members and hospital employees, she said.
Beth Ann Gutierrez, case manager at Fox, said more than 53 private rooms have been created as a result of the project. The designated observation area, located on the first floor of the hospital, is comprised of 14 observation rooms, she said, three of which are three-person suites and five of which are private rooms.
The observation area is an outpatient unit where health care providers can treat, monitor and perform testing to evaluate patients’ conditions and determine whether they need to be admitted as in-patients or if they can go home, Gutierrez said. It provides a middle ground of sorts, she said, between being in the Emergency Department and being an in-patient.
The private, single-occupancy rooms in the observation unit will prevent infection from spreading among patients; allow better communication between patients and care givers by dramatically reducing noise and disturbance; and foster pleasant, more private interactions with family and loved ones, according to Fox officials. The unit features a family waiting room.
Scobie said the new unit is the only observation area of its kind in the region. Most hospitals have observation patients mixed in with regular patients, she said.