Observation Unit

The purpose of the Observation Unit is to provide focused, rapid treatment for those patients with simple diagnoses whose estimated length of stay is six to 48 hours. By grouping patients with similar acute, simple diagnoses, UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh can provide efficient, specialized, multidisciplinary medical care. Common diagnoses cared for in the Observation Unit include:

  • Accidental ingestion
  • Asthma
  • Bronchiolitis
  • Cellulitis
  • Croup
  • Dehydration
  • Diarrhea
  • Jaundice in a healthy newborn
  • Low-risk rule-out sepsis
  • Pneumonia
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Vomiting

Any child with a known diagnosis who is expected to require short-term hospitalization for treatment, a procedure or observation could be eligible for the Observation Unit. A child’s eligibility for the unit is determined by the Emergency Department physicians or by phone consultation between the referring physician and the attending Observation Unit physician.

Referral Requirements

Referrals are required from primary care physicians or other Children’s Hospital specialty services. Referrals for patients enrolled in managed care insurance plans also may require authorization from the insurance provider and primary care physician. For accurate provider numbers or more information, please call the office number listed.



  • Observation Unit

    UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh
    4401 Penn Avenue
    Floor 7
    Pittsburgh, PA 15224