Medi-Hotels for low acuity COVID-19 patients set to ease pressure on Victorian hospital beds

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Two Victorian hotel quarantine sites are being transformed into medi-hotels from Monday, the Victorian Government announced today.

Victorian Acting Minister for Health James Merlino said the medi-hotels will be set up to help care for the growing number of COVID-19 patients needing lower-level care, easing pressure on Victoria’s hospital system.

“The medi-hotels will provide us with an extra buffer at a time when COVID-19 case numbers and related hospital admissions are rising.”

The hotels will provide Hospital in the Home style care for low acuity patients in a highly controlled environment and with all the amenities of existing health hotels, the Government said.

The medi-hotels will have capacity to provide care for over 300 patients at a time – in partnership with Northern Health and Royal Melbourne Hospital.

The Government states the medi-hotels will alleviate pressures on the hospital networks by freeing up beds for patients with higher-care needs, while making good use of existing space in the hotel quarantine network.

Patients eligible for transfer will be those well enough to be relocated from a general hospital ward for the final stages of their clinical care. This triaging process will be carefully managed by authorised health professionals from the coordinating hospital.

Transitional care and support will be provided to people in the medi-hotel, with clinical teams available to respond to any medical emergencies.

“Patients will receive high-quality care from health professionals in a hotel setting, making even better use of the resources we have available,” said Minister Merlino.

As with Hospital in the Home, medi-hotel patients will remain under the care of the coordinating hospital and will still be considered an inpatient of that facility.

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (Victorian Branch) welcomed the Andrews Government’s decision.

“These new services will free up beds for Victorians, but importantly they will ease the pressure on the nurses caring for COVID patients,” ANMF (Vic Branch) Acting Secretary Paul Gilbert said.

“Even if the effect is things do not get worse, that is something right now.
” Victorians need to know every nurse and midwife in our hospitals and health services is working above and beyond anything experienced before trying to care for an increasing number of patients with fewer staff because they are COVID positive or are close contacts.

‘The furloughing of thousands of staff, causing the last-resort move to surge workforce models, is taking a toll on exhausted nurses and midwives who’ve worked through this pandemic in varying degrees of crisis-mode for almost two years,” Mr Gilbert said.

Hotel quarantine for unvaccinated returned overseas travellers and emergency accommodation for community members and frontline workers will continue at separate hotels not being used as medi-hotels.

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