A high dependency unit is an area in a hospital, usually located closely to the intensive care unit, where patients can be cared for more extensively than on a normal ward, but not to the point of intensive care, it is appropriate for patients who have had major surgery and for those with single-organ failure. Many of these units were set up in the 1990s when hospitals found that a proportion of patients was requiring a level of care that could not be delivered in a normal ward setting.This is thought to be associated with a reduction in mortality. Patients may be admitted to an HDU bed because they are at risk of requiring intensive care admission, or as a step-down between intensive care and ward-based care.