Review of a paediatric emergency department observation unit

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To review the function of an emergency department paediatric observation unit.


A retrospective observational study reviewing the activity of the observation unit for 12 months


During 12 months, 4446 children were admitted to the observation unit and 76% were discharged home: usually within 8 hours. The average admission rate was 12 children in 24 hours. The commonest causes for children being admitted to the observation unit were respiratory problems and gastroenteritis or dehydration.


The emergency paediatric observational unit was used to assess and treat children with a variety of conditions. This enabled many children to be managed in the emergency department rather than being admitted to the paediatric wards.

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