EMMC Opens New Unit for Observation Care

Team Provides Individualized Care During Short Stays


(Bangor, Maine) – All acute care hospitals, including Eastern Maine Medical Center, are required to determine if patients are sick enough to be admitted as inpatients, or if they should receive short-term services known as observational care. Recently, EMMC opened its new Short Stay Unit to efficiently assess patients’ needs and decide the next steps in their care, which could include a safe return home or an admission to the hospital.
“We know that no one wants to be in the hospital any longer than they need to be. Observation patients can expect shorter stays, which will improve their experience,” says Ashley Robertson, MD, medical director, Care Management.
“Before the unit’s inception, observation patients were placed in various inpatient rooms throughout the hospital, or in the Emergency Department, staying for up to 36 hours, with less coordinated care. This model of care allows us to focus on providing the right care in the right place during the right timeframe.”
Dedicated physicians from the EMMC Family Medicine Center and Residency program treat observation patients in the Short Stay Unit by effectively streamlining care, setting expectations around length of stay, and quickly addressing questions patients may have while they are in the hospital.
Within a 20-hour period, most patients in the Short Stay unit will return home safety and receive follow up care in an outpatient setting. Staff members work to improve outcomes by sharing details of the hospital visit with the patient’s primary care provider and confirming follow-up care is in place. About one-third will be admitted to an inpatient unit in the hospital.
The new approach to observation medicine at Eastern Maine Medical Center is expected to improve patient flow, lead to better communication with patients, and improve EMMC’s ability to care for patients both in the Emergency Department and in inpatient areas.