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Patients are occasionally retained for observation at Riccarton Clinic in order to carefully monitor their status before deciding whether to refer the patient to hospital or that it is safe for them to go home. As we don't have dedicated observation facilities this is limited to a few hours, usually less than four.

Observation is by definition the use of appropriate monitoring, diagnostic testing, therapy, and assessment of patient symptoms, signs, laboratory tests, and response to therapy for the purpose of determining whether a patient will require further treatment as an inpatient or can be discharged form the medical setting. 

The duration of observation status is expected to be from 1-4 hours at Riccarton Clinic. Studies indicate that observation care can improve outcomes and improve cost effectiveness compared to routine care. Chest pain observation is widely considered to have the potential to provide rapid and safe evaluations for low-risk patients with acute chest pain.

Observation may take place in our Resus Room or in one of our treatment rooms and is designed to provide appropriate physician and nurse staffing and diagnostic/treatment capabilities to allow observation for the presenting clinical complaint in an efficient, safe, effective and comfortable environment. 

The philosophy of observation is:

  • To provide an area to care for any patient who has not been referred to hospital but whose condition necessitates a lengthy observation, not to exceed 4 hours

  • To provide an area for observation for testing when a patient does not meet screening criteria for an acute care setting

  • Deliver excellence in clinical care by correctly diagnosing heart attack (Myocardial Infarction or MI) or patients and more rapidly diagnosing acute coronary syndromes so that therapy may be implemented expediently

  • Allow additional time to make difficult disposition decisions and, thus, allow more certainty of diagnosis

Ultimate goal is to improve the quality of medical care to patients through extended evaluation and treatment while reducing inappropriate admissions.