New Unit Aims To Ease ER Waits

Topeka (WIBW) - A new report shows part of the reason for long emergency room waits is patients waiting for test results or a regular room, taking up ER space.

The new Emergency and Trauma Center that opened at Topeka's Stormont-Vail HealthCare this week addresses the issue head-on. Now, some patients who enter the emergency department might travel one floor up to the new Clinical Decision Unit.

Dr. Auriel Tan, Stormont-Vail Hospitalist, says patients sent to the unit are those who go to the emergency room and require further observation or tests that require more than an hour or two in the ER.

Tan says not only will it make the patients and their families more comfortable while they wait for lab results or treatments to take effect, moving them out of the ER means the space and staff are available to care for other patients. Tan says that will make the ER less congested and the waiting time will be reduced for other patients.

Patients would spend less than 24 hours in the unit, then either be admitted or released. Stormont's hospitalists will oversee the care, which is an added plus should the patient end up needing to stay at the hospital. Tan says hospitalists are assigned to the hospital full-time and the continuity of care will help with expediting care and getting the best care for the patient.

The unit is starting with eight beds with the option to expand should the need arise.


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