Piedmont Newnan Hospital establishes two new services

Fri, 04/18/2008 - 9:04am
By: The Citizen

Piedmont Newnan Hospital has implemented two new services over the past month that will not only support the Emergency Department, but will also accommodate the majority of pediatric patients who have been historically treated at the hospital.

“With our recent decision to close the designated inpatient pediatric unit, we want to reassure the community that we are still able to treat pediatric patients on an outpatient basis,” said Peggie Lawson, vice president of patient care services at Piedmont Newnan Hospital. “We have established two new services which we believe will not only accommodate the majority of the reasons why children were admitted to our pediatric unit, but also provide a much better setting for kids.”

First, on March 12, the hospital opened a Clinical Decision Unit (CDU) in a space formerly occupied by a pre-admission function. This area was recently renovated and is a bright, convenient setting for outpatient care. The CDU allows the staff at the hospital to treat, on an outpatient basis, many conditions which were formerly treated on an inpatient basis. Some of the advantages of the CDU include:

1. The CDU is set up and operated as an extension of the Emergency Department (ED) whereby patients may be treated for up to 23 hours.

2. The CDU provides a monitored clinical environment outside of the ED for patients awaiting an inpatient bed, and provides certain services on an outpatient basis rather than an inpatient basis to keep more inpatient beds available for longer inpatient stays.

3. The CDU can be used for referrals from doctors, primarily pediatricians, for patients who will need only a few hours of care before they can be sent home. Examples of care which would be provided in this environment might be an adult or child who may need fluids for hydration or a child who needs respiratory treatments.

4. Patients who were initially treated in the ED and are then awaiting an inpatient bed can be moved to the CDU to allow the ED exam room to be used for other ED patients.

“Based upon our assessment of our historical pediatric inpatient care needs, we believe that the vast majority of those needs can be met moving forward by treatment in the CDU,” said Lawson. “Therefore, most pediatric patients will not have to travel to Atlanta for care. We still believe, however, that those children requiring extensive or long-term care would be best treated in a hospital that specializes in pediatric patients. Most of our own pediatricians concede that point as well.”

The second service that was established was a “Fast Track” system in the ED to better accommodate those patients who are not true “emergency” patients as defined by the federal government but who still require urgent care. Many of the children who present to the ED fall into this category.

“The Fast Track rooms allow us to better separate treatment requirements so that urgent-level care can be provided in a more expeditious manner,” explained Kathy Quinn, director of Emergency Services at Piedmont Newnan Hospital. “This should result in less wait times for all, an added benefit for children who do not understand why they have to wait when they do not feel well. We will be able to diagnose and treat the children, then get them on their way home quicker.”

According to initial plans, the new hospital that will open in 2010 on Poplar Road will have an Emergency Department almost twice the size of the current facility. It will also have a Fast Track feature to help ensure expedited care for non-emergency cases.

“With the better capacity and configuration of the new facility and the idea of physicians and mid-level providers oriented to pediatrics, our intent is to focus even more on pediatric emergency care in the future,” said Quinn.

Piedmont Newnan Hospital will not only continue to see pediatric patients through the Emergency Department and the CDU, but also in the imaging and diagnostic departments for such procedures as X-rays and blood work.

For more information about Piedmont Newnan Hospital, visit www.piedmontnewnan.org.

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