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SCRANTON, Pa. –  To help streamline emergency department operations and expedite care for short-term stay patients, Geisinger Community Medical Center (GCMC) has recently opened a 12-bed observation unit. The unit will enable patients who require ongoing evaluation, such as patients with chest pain, to receive expedited care and access to short-term tests or treatment.

Patients, many whom seek initial care in GCMC’s emergency department, will be transferred to the observation unit based on their medical needs. Here, a dedicated, specially trained staff can closely monitor them and prioritize their treatment as needed. 

“The observation unit allows us to provide a more personalized care model, not only for patients who require short-term treatment, but for our emergency department patients as well,” said Sri Hosur, M.D., chief medical officer, GCMC. “By offering a dedicated area for these patients, it will help focus efforts with management plans and early transitions, thus freeing up space and treating patients in a more timely manner in the emergency department. Patients can return to the comfort of their homes earlier.”

GCMC’s observation unit is staffed 24 hours a day by specially trained physicians and nurses. Patients are cared for in rooms with full-size hospital beds, televisions and room service. In most cases, these patients go home within 23 hours of arrival, avoiding unnecessary admissions to the hospital.

Geisinger has opened similar observation units at several of its hospitals in the past year including Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center in Wilkes-Barre and Geisinger Shamokin Area Community Hospital in Shamokin.

GCMC’s observation unit is one of many projects the hospital has underway to improve patient experience, enhance access to care and introduce the latest technology. Other updates include: 

  • A $15 million maternity center set to open in 2019, which will feature seven delivery rooms and 11 postpartum suites in a totally refurbished space
  • A $3.9 million cardiovascular expansion to streamline heart and vascular services
  • A $1.7 million epilepsy monitoring unit featuring 10 private rooms in a renovated, 4,800-square foot suite
  • A $3.2 million orthopaedic investment that includes physical site renovation, expanded services and technology/equipment upgrades
  • A Mamava nursing suite which allows hospital visitors and employees a private space to breastfeed
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