University Hospitals Dorset sets up care hotel to ease bed blocking

HOSPITAL patients in Dorset are being moved to a care hotel to take some of the pressure off the beds.

Bournemouth and Poole hospitals have had around 200 medically dischargeable patients for several weeks – they are ready to go but need short-term support before returning home and capacity in the care system has been stretched.

Now Dorset University Hospital has hired private company Abicare to provide 24-hour care on one floor of a Bournemouth hotel and the first 16 patients are expected to be transferred shortly.

In the first 14 weeks of the contract, dozens of people were able to go through the care hotel system.

Read more: The number of bed-blocking patients at Bournemouth and Poole hospitals reaches 150

And hospital bosses say the temporary measure will have a huge impact on capacity at hospitals.

It will help ease patient flow in hospitals, reduce waiting times in hospital emergency rooms, and support ongoing recovery from elective surgeries in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Bournemouth Echo: Royal Bournemouth Hospital Emergency DepartmentEmergency Department at Royal Bournemouth Hospital

UHD Nursing Director Paula Shobbrook said: “This is new, innovative and a really positive step. It absolutely benefits our patients as we know that hospitals are not the best place for their rehabilitation.”

She described it as “a release valve.”

Read more: Bed blocking problems at Dorset University Hospitals

Abicare, a CQC-registered care provider that already operates similar services in four hotels in other parts of the country, takes care of the patients who are only on site for a short time.

Mark Mold, UHD’s Chief Operating Officer, said, “Our hospitals are the best place to provide acute care to our patients.

“However, when patients are medically ready to leave, we should do everything we can to support this, to free up space for new patients and to ease the pressure on our staff. This is also better for the continued recovery of our patients.”

Anne-Marie Perry, Managing Director of Abicare said: “We are delighted to be able to work with UHD on this proactive short-term solution to ease the pressure on their hospitals.

Bournemouth Echo: Clinical staff wear personal protective equipment (PPE) while tending to a patient in intensive care at Cambridge's Royal Papworth Hospital.  PA photo.  Picture date: Tuesday May 5, 2020. NHS workers wear enhanced PPE at higher risk

“We operate similar services for other hospitals in the South and know that supporting even a small number of patients leaving the hospital can greatly improve hospital performance and help tremendously in the timely care of other patients.”

Read more: Critical incident at Dorset University Hospitals but ‘difficult weeks ahead’

A spokesman for the hotel said: “We have a long relationship with the hospital and this has helped with the planning and organization needed to ensure the patients who come to our hotel receive the best possible care.

“Our hotel offers a great environment with great facilities for patients to continue their recovery and we are very pleased to be able to support these patients and UHD in this way.”

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