Evaluating the Impact of a New High Dependency Unit

Document Type

Journal Article


Faculty of Computing, Health and Science


School of Nursing and Public Health




Armstrong, K., Young, J., Hayburn, A., Irish, B., & Nikoletti, S. (2003). Evaluating the impact of a new high dependency unit. International journal of nursing practice, 9(5), 285-293. Available here


The impact of a new high dependency unit (HDU) that was developed from an adjoining ward was evaluated from both an organizational and consumer perspective. Satisfaction of patients and relatives with nursing care on the ward of origin was measured before and after the development of the HDU, and nurses were surveyed regarding the impact of the change on nursing practices. Patients’ perceptions of pain and pain management was compared between patients admitted to the ward prior to the development of the HDU, and a later group admitted to the HDU. Results showed that despite high satisfaction prior to the development of the HDU, satisfaction of patients and relatives improved on the ward after the development of the HDU. Nurses in both areas also described higher satisfaction levels after the change. Patients admitted to the HDU expressed higher levels of satisfaction with nurses’ response to analgesia requests and clinical data showed a trend toward lower pain scores in this group compared with pre-HDU patients. The HDU was found to be effective in providing high level care and monitoring for a group of patients at risk of postoperative complications. It was also associated with additional benefits in the running of the adjacent ward.





Link to publisher version (DOI)