Term: Observation Units

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Glossary Definition

Last Updated: 2011-05-30


A designated area within or near an Emergency Department (ED) of an acute care hospital where patients are assessed to determine if they need to be admitted to hospital. Observation may include reassessment, diagnostic testing and short-term treatment. It may take up to twenty-four hours, at which time a decision is reached whether to send a patient home or admit him/her to hospital.

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Related terms 


  • Bruce S, Black C, Burchill C, De Haney S. Profile of Medical Patients who were Assessed as Requiring Observation-Level Services at Winnipeg Acute Care Hospitals in 1998/99. Winnipeg, MB: Manitoba Centre for Health Policy, 2002. [Summary] [Full Report] (View)

Term used in 

  • Shanahan M, Lloyd M, Roos NP, Brownell M. Hospital Case Mix Costing Project 1991/92. Winnipeg, MB: Manitoba Centre for Health Policy and Evaluation, 1994. [Full Report] (View)