Observation Unit Focuses on Evaluation and Treatment

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With the opening of its new observation unit, Houston Methodist San Jacinto Hospital adds a valuable facility in its mission to deliver quality health care and services to Baytown and surrounding communities.

The unit, which opened on April 24, includes 20 private beds and is located on the second floor of the hospital’s Garth campus. The facility provides patient care, generally for up to 24 hours, including diagnostics, treatment and monitoring, following an emergency department (ED) visit. Additionally, some patients may be admitted directly to the unit or as transfers from other health care facilities.

“We are very excited to offer this state-of-the-art observation unit to our growing community,” said Houston Methodist San Jacinto Hospital physician David Morris, MD, the unit’s medical director. “If a patient has received treatments in our ED or from any physician’s office or any ED and the patient needs to be observed to assess the effectiveness of those treatments, he or she can be transferred to the observation unit. Once admitted to the unit, if the patient improves, they can be discharged to go home. If not, they can be admitted to the hospital for further evaluation and treatment.”

Morris adds that the unit is specifically effective in evaluating and treating patients dealing with conditions such as pneumonia, falls, syncope (fainting) or low-risk chest pain.

Michael Ulmer, a retired minister living in the Old River area, earned the distinction of being the unit’s first patient after being admitted on April 24 for treatment of a heart condition. He says the new facility will have a huge impact on local patients.

“Being able to expedite the movement of patients and getting them taken care of quickly is a very positive thing for the community,” Ulmer said. “I’m thankful to see the growth and improvements at this hospital and I think this facility will be a big plus for all of us in this area.”

Ulmer’s cardiologist, Houston Methodist San Jacinto’s Edward Leahey, MD, says the unit can be especially beneficial in evaluating and treating heart patients because it gives physicians an opportunity to determine the severity of the patient’s symptoms and whether or not they have suffered a heart attack. He adds that the private examination rooms offer a level of privacy that benefits patients and care providers.

“The fact that patient privacy is assured is great for the patient and the physician because now I can conduct my affairs with the patient in an area of privacy,” Leahey said, “which allows the patient to be more comfortable”

The observation unit is part of a $100 million dollar expansion project underway at the Garth campus that includes a three-story tower, scheduled for completion in the summer of 2019, that will house an expanded emergency department, inpatient beds, operating rooms and a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). The project also includes the construction of a new outpatient facility, projected to be completed in the first quarter of 2019, as well as the addition of hundreds of visitor parking spaces.

About Houston Methodist San Jacinto Hospital

Houston Methodist San Jacinto Hospital has provided Baytown and East Houston with quality medical care since opening its doors in 1948. The hospital has grown throughout the years with the community, providing comprehensive care at all stages of life. As a health care leader, the hospital is proud to have a fully integrated residency program focused on educating and inspiring future practitioners. Today, Houston Methodist San Jacinto provides some of the most advanced and innovative procedures while never losing focus on compassionate and patient-centered care. Houstonmethodist.org/sanjacinto.