Rapid Admit Unit means faster access to care

February 04, 2005
Feb. 3, 2005

Beginning Monday, patients being admitted to New Hanover Regional Medical Center will first make a stop in the Rapid Admit Unit, the medical center’s newest treatment area where adult patients begin receiving care even before their beds are ready.

The Rapid Admit Unit is a nine-bed area centrally located on the first floor of New Hanover Regional in the former site of the surgical waiting room. It is staffed with registered nurses, patient care technicians and unit clerks who will provide initial treatments and testing for patients before being sent to the nursing units.

Patients are expected to stay in the Rapid Admit Unit about an hour and a half while being given their first doses of medication, having IV lines started, pain control begun and other treatments that could normally take several hours to complete on the nursing unit. Additionally, these patients will be able to receive assessments, some testing, blood work, EKGs, heart monitoring and have catheters inserted, so when their beds are ready, patients are already well into their care.

“This is like changing every admission to a transfer,” said Nancy Woolwine, Director of Emergency Services. “If the patient is transferred, the orders are in the system, the medications are started and the assessments done, so the nurse can pick up the care from there.”

Six months into its operations, the Rapid Admit Unit is expected to decrease the average length of stay for patients by about half a day, helping reduce the cost of their hospital stay. It is also believed that starting care faster and closer to where patients enter the hospital and enabling doctors to make diagnostic decisions more quickly will be satisfying to both patients and physicians.

The unit will be staffed with existing FTEs with positions open to in-house staff first. It will be open 24 hours a day Monday through Friday and from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. on weekends.