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UK hotels become emergency care homes for outpatients amid COVID-19

by | 15 May 2020 | News

Newquay’s Carnmarth Hotel is part of the UK’s Nightingale Care Home initiative.

Patients discharged from the hospital are transferred to hotels to free up beds for coronavirus sufferers.

Patients still in need of care but not critical enough to be in hospital are being dispatched to hotels moonlighting as emergency care homes as the healthcare sector battles COVID-19. We find out more about this ingenious solution to a healthcare crisis.

A pleasant stop-gap

Patients discharged from UK hospitals in an effort to free up urgent bed spaces for those diagnosed with and suffering from COVID-19 have a new environment in which to recover: British hotels. Dubbed “Nightingale Care Homes”, a number of UK properties have been handed over to the healthcare system to help with the ongoing fight against the coronavirus. Hospitals and health centres are overwhelmed by the ever-spreading virus, and these care homes are intended to be stopgaps for patients who have been discharged but still require a certain level of care. Three hotels in Cornwall and one property in Yorkshire have so far been taken up as Nightingale care homes, with another property in Trebetherick earmarked as a care home if the need should arise.

Rob Rotchell, a council member from Cornwall, said, “We opened the first one on 27 March. I think we were the first to do it. At that time there was an expectation that the whole NHS was going to be absolutely flooded. We needed somewhere else to put people who were well enough to be discharged from the hospital but were not well enough to manage on their own at home … At the same time, a lot of hotels were closing because there were no tourists coming so it seemed an ideal opportunity for us. There’s a double benefit really.”

Covering the cost

Some of the properties, such as Newquay’s Carnmarth Hotel, go for £150 a night during some parts of the year and are considered to have the best views of the area’s famous surf beach. But under the Nightingale care home initiative, the local council is paying £100 a night to the participating hotels to cover the cost of the room, housekeeping and meals for the recovering patients. The council also pays for the carers who come in and take care of these new and unusual guests for the duration of their stay. At Cedar Court Hotel in Huddersfield, a 3-week fit-out was completed in record time so the hotel would be able to accommodate outpatients. Hotels participating in the scheme are scaling down their occupancy rates to ensure that stringent health and safety requirements can be met.

A spokesperson for the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which regulates the healthcare sector, said, “In this period of unprecedented pressure we want to support health and social care providers to increase capacity as part of the ongoing effort to respond to COVID-19. A COVID-19 registration is any ‘application’ from a health or social care provider where they intend to deliver services which provide additional health and social care capacity in an area or contribute to the control of the outbreak or the treatment of people who have contracted the illness. All applications relating to COVID-19 will be prioritised by CQC so that we can ensure the health and social care system is in the best position possible to meet this increased need.”

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