Acute Admissions Unit

What is an Acute Admissions Unit (AAU)?

An Acute Admissions Unit is the 'front door' for the majority of patients requiring emergency treatment. It provides care for all levels of sickness from walk-in to high-dependency. All patients referred directly by their GP are treated in the AAU, but self-referring patients are seen initially in the A&E department, where they will be assessed and directed to the most appropriate area to treat their particular problem.

What's the difference between an AAU and an A&E department?

The AAU does not replace the service provided by the A&E department. A&E continues to treat patients requiring major treatment and also patients with minor injuries and illnesses that can be treated and discharged home.

The Acute Admissions Unit sees patients who require admission for observation, diagnosis and treatment. Patients do not stay in the AAU for more than 48 hours. If patients are assessed on arrival as expecting to require a longer hospital stay than 48 hours, they are transferred to one of the established wards in the Main Block.

What are the benefits of the service the AAU provides?

The Acute Admissions Unit is an innovative, modern way of treating emergency patients and this method results in the following benefits:

  • Rapid Service
  • Emergency medical and surgical assessment is available in one place so skilled specialists provide rapid assessment and diagnosis. Previously some patients were waiting in the A&E department for up to four hours, but the AAU helps to significantly reduce these waiting times.

  • Better Treatment
  • Patients attending the AAU are seen from the outset by a consultant, receive earlier diagnosis and have their treatment started much faster.

  • More Effective
  • Quicker access to investigations, diagnosis and treatments avoids patients being admitted unnecessarily. This improves the patients' experience and ensures beds are being used for the patients who really require admission.

  • Improved Outcomes
  • It is well recognised that prompt diagnosis by a consultant and early appropriate treatment can dramatically improve the long-term outcome of some illnesses, such as stroke.

Which specialist teams work in the AAU?

The efficient and effective service available in the AAU is only possible due to a wide range of teams working together. Medical and surgical consultants are available in the AAU to plan the patient's care from the beginning of their admission. Other consultant specialists are also on hand to see patients that require additional specialist care. The AAU benefits from a range of clinical support and therapy services and the Trust's discharge planning team work very closely with the AAU staff to ensure a smooth and prompt transition out of the unit when appropriate.

Where is the AAU?

The new building is located directly next to the Accident and Emergency department. It is connected to the Princess Michael of Kent (PMoK) building by two link corridors, one on the ground floor (linking to A&E) and one on the third floor.

What hours is it open?

The new service is open 24 hours a day/7 days a week/365 days a year

What's inside?

The AAU is made up of three-floors (please also see map).

Floor 1 (ground floor)
  • Ambulance bays and corridor to A&E
  • Reception and waiting area
  • 60 beds (12 are en-suite single rooms and 8 x 6 bedded bay)
  • X-ray department
  • Discharge area
  • Offices
Floor 2
  • 2 cardiac catheter laboratories with 12-day unit beds
  • ECG and Echo dept
  • CT and ultrasound dept
  • Pharmacy dispensary and manufacturing unit
  • Staff and clinical support facility
Floor 3

60 short stay beds (12 are en-suite single rooms and 8 x 6 bedded bay) Corridor link to Princess Michael of Kent (PMoK) building

What type of patients will be managed in the AAU?

Medical, surgical and orthopaedic patients will be treated in the AAU.

What wards are in the AAU?

There are no specified wards in the AAU. The 60 beds on Floor 1 and Floor 3 are divided into four coloured zones, Green, Blue, Purple and Yellow. Each zone has two bays with six beds in each and three en-suite side rooms.

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