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Media Contact: Christian Meagher, Communications Specialist

Griffin Hospital Opens New Observation Unit to Improve Emergency Care

By Christian Meagher on 1/16/2023

The Hewitt Observation Unit integrates many Planetree person-centered care model elements to provide the best patient experience possible, including a visitor lounge, complete with residential kitchen, to encourage caring connections between patients and their family and friends.

On January 9, 2023, Griffin Health opened The Hewitt Observation Unit at Griffin Hospital to expand the hospital’s capacity to care for patients who require an extended period of assessment and evaluation before a determination can be made whether to admit the individual for inpatient acute care or to discharge the patient.

The Hewitt Observation Unit features 12 comfortable, private rooms, and integrates many Planetree person-centered care model elements to provide the best patient experience possible. The unit’s architecture and interior design create a healing environment with spacious, well-appointed rooms offering soothing colors, views of nature and ample natural light. A visitor lounge, complete with residential kitchen, encourages caring connections between patients and their family and friends, and a centralized barrier-free caregiver station to facilitate interaction and collaboration. Each room is equipped with an “intelligent” electronic display that provides advanced patient communication and education through informative and interactive videos intended to empower patients so that they can take an active role in decisions effecting their care and in managing their health and well-being. A wide range of entertainment offerings are also provided. Additionally, an innovative digital white board displays the names and contact information for the patient’s care team and regular patient progress updates to facilitate patient and family access to information leading to greater understanding and more active participation in the care process.

The Observation Unit allows patients first seen and evaluated in the hospital’s Emergency Department (ED) or having undergone outpatient surgery to be observed for up to 48 hours when extra time is needed before a decision is made to either discharge or admit the patient. Having a dedicated unit will allow Griffin clinicians to assess patients more safely, efficiently and effectively.

“As a Planetree-certified healthcare organization, The Hewitt Observation Unit at Griffin Hospital is part of Griffin’s commitment to Planetree’s patient-centered care principles which include the provision of personalized, humanistic care in a healing environment that puts patients’ needs first,” said Griffin Health President and CEO Patrick Charmel. “This unit elevates the level of care for observation patients. Studies have shown that patients cared for in a comfortable environment such as an observation unit had a shorter stay, quicker recovery and better health outcomes. Additionally, for our patients receiving emergency care, being able to provide a period of extended observation outside of the ED will help alleviate congestion which in turn will reduce ED wait times.”

Across the country, hospital EDs are experiencing overcrowding due to high hospital occupancy caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, seasonal illnesses and staffing shortages. This has caused delays in the process of holding patients in the ED prior to transferring them to an inpatient unit, which has caused back-ups in ED waiting rooms throughout the U.S. The Hewitt Observation Unit addresses this issue by providing a place to efficiently transfer observation patients and open up more beds in the ED for those needing emergency care.

Griffin Hospital celebrated the grand opening of the new Hewitt Observation Unit with a donor celebration and ribbon-cutting on January 5. Pictured from left are: Griffin Health Inpatient Services Administrator Kelly Egan; Griffin Health Vice President of Patient Care Services Kimberlee Richard; The Hewitt Foundation Board Member Laura Donahue, Griffin Health President and CEO Patrick Charmel, Griffin Hospital Development Fund Board Chair Edward McCreery, The Hewitt Foundation President Pat Carey; The Hewitt Foundation Board Members Harry DiAdamo and Gil Apicella; Griffin Hospital Board of Directors President Jack Betkoski; and Hewitt Observation Unit Clinical Manager Kristine Hall.

The Hewitt Observation Unit features 12 comfortable, private rooms offering soothing colors, views of nature, ample natural light and an “intelligent” electronic display that provides advanced patient communication and education.

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