Background: At this 35 000 visits/year emergency department (ED) at a level one trauma centre, a trauma protocol was implemented for the ED observation unit. Data on all trauma observation unit admissions were then collected to evaluate for safety, efficiency and admission rates.
Methods: A retrospective chart review was performed of all trauma patients in the observation unit during a 14-month period. Exclusion criteria for observation unit admission included: abnormal vital signs, positive focussed abdominal sonography for trauma examination, abnormal ECG, abnormal chest radiograph, abnormal head computed tomography, Glasgow coma score less than 14, or multisystem trauma.
Results: 364 trauma patients were admitted to the observation unit. 84.6% were trauma II activations and 3.8% were trauma I activations. There were no deaths, intubations, loss of vital signs or other adverse events. The average length of stay was 12 h 46 minutes and 11.5% of patients were admitted to an inpatient unit. At 30-day follow-up, there were no significant missed injuries.
Conclusion: The observation unit is a safe alternative to inpatient admission for the evaluation of the minimally injured trauma activation patient.
Statistics from Altmetric.com
Competing interests: None.
Ethics approval: The study received approval from the hospital’s institutional review board in October 2007.
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.