Could 'Hotel Hospitals' Improve Elderly Care?
The NHS in the UK has come up with the idea of sending elderly patients, new mothers and stroke patients to so called ‘Hotel Hospitals’ to recover from illnesses, falls and similar conditions as part of a plan to ease ‘bed-blocking’ in hospital wards.
Hotel Hospitals will be run by private hotel chains and will provide users with private en-suite facilities, television, internet connection and room service. Visiting hours for family members would also be a lot more flexible that in hospital wards and relations would be given the opportunity to stay in nearby rooms. It is thought that the system could save the health service tens of millions of pounds. The idea came from Scandinavia, where the set is widely used – many large hotel chains run the service on hospital sites.
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The aim of the scheme is to support patients who are well enough to leave a hospital environment, but who still require more medical support than they could receive at home.
According to government estimates, such a patient costs the NHS about £260 a day. The total bill for these delayed discharges has been estimated at £4 million a week and has been increasing at a time when NHS budgets are under intense pressure.
Surprisingly, the cost of accommodating a patient in a hotel, even one staffed by trained carers and fitted with medical equipment, would be significantly lower, according to advocates of the scheme.
In Scandinavia, privately run patient hotels are situated in the grounds of hospitals, where they are staffed by nurses and afford quick access to specialist consultants if patients need urgent treatment.
The proposed system has bought success in the past and could benefit the care of elderly patients, not only because they remain under medical care for longer following trauma, but because the hotel environment is more ‘welcoming’ than a hospital ward.