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WMHS Observation Unit Expands

There are times when patients seek treatment in the Emergency Department and require additional testing and evaluation.  In order to make these patients more comfortable while their treatment continues, they are moved to our Observation Unit.  Here are some commonly asked questions about the WMHS Observation Unit.
What is the Observation Unit?

The Observation Unit is a separate area on 5 West that is dedicated to patients who require additional assessment.  It has bright, spacious rooms equipped with flat-screen TVs, telephones and all of the amenities that the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center has to offer. 
A stay in the Observation Unit is an alternative to a hospital admission.  In the past, our only option for you if you required additional testing and evaluation was to admit you to the hospital, resulting in a lengthier stay.  Now, the same quality care can be provided in a shorter amount of time.
What Can I Expect During My Stay in the Observation Unit?

You will continue to be evaluated by a provider during your stay on the Observation Unit.  Specialists, such as a cardiologist or neurologist, might become involved in your care.  There is also a special team of RNs assigned to the Observation Unit.
During your stay, you can expect to have your heart rhythm and vital signs monitored.  You may also have an intravenous (IV) line in your arm and be provided oxygen, if necessary, to make breathing easier.
You may be given a variety of tests during your stay.  These tests may include frequent blood work, EKGs, echocardiograms, X-rays, CT scans, ultrasounds, and MRIs.  The turnaround time for test results is the same is fast-tracked so that your condition can be assessed as quickly as possible.
How Long Will I Be in Observation?

A typical observation stay lasts between 12 and 23 hours.  However, in rare circumstances, your stay can extend to 48 hours.  
Once all of your results are reported as normal, you will be discharged home.  Of course, if it becomes clear that your condition is not responding to treatment, you will be admitted to the appropriate area of the hospital.
Will You Contact My Family Doctor?

Typically, your physician will not see you during your stay in the Observation Unit.  However, he/she will have access to your test results and other information about your stay in the Observation Unit.  If you need to be admitted to the hospital, your family doctor or his/her covering doctor will take care of you on the inpatient unit.
Can My Family Stay With Me?

Your family is welcome to stay with you while you are in the Observation Unit.  We request that you have no more than two visitors at a time in your room, and there is a waiting room on the 5th floor for your family and friends. 

It is important to keep your family informed about your condition since you may be discharged at any time and will need transportation home.
Will I Be Served Meals?

At mealtime, you will receive a hospital meal as ordered by your provider.  At times, due to your condition, your meals may be held to allow for testing or further evaluation by specialists.  Your meal will be served as soon as the provider allows.
Hospital meals are not provided for family members in the Observation Unit.  Family members are welcome to visit our cafeteria, which is located on the second floor of the hospital.  Food service is available 24 hours a day.